Mercedes-Benz wants to boost its U.S. sales by 20 percent with four new compacts

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 17, 2012

Mercedes-Benz is launching four new compacts starting next year, with hopes of raising its sales in the U.S. by over 20% compared to last year. At the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes global sales boss Joachim Schmidt said that in the mid-term, the Mercedes brand’s sales in the U.S. will reach 300,000 units, particularly due to its new compact-car family.

Schmidt didn’t say what year Mercedes seeks to reach its target of 300,000 units. But he anticipates that the U.S. rollout of the compact family of Mercedes will take two to three years.

It will begin in 2013 and will consist of new generations of the A class and B class and a compact SUV and coupe. Schmidt said that an electric vehicle with a range-extending fuel-powered engine will be the only B-class variant to be offered in the U.S.

Presently, the C class is the smallest model Mercedes that is available in the U.S. The U.S. sales target of Schmidt is the same as rival BMW’s target. In an interview with Automotive News Europe last month, Ludwig Willisch, the U.S. sales boss of BMW, said that his midterm goal is to increase BMW brand sales to 300,000 units.

In 2011, BMW sold 247,907 units while Mercedes sold 245,192 units, which gives BMW the title of best-selling premium brand in the U.S. for the first time, ending Lexus’ reign for 11 years on the top of the U.S. luxury segment. Production was stopped for part of last year due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

With U.S. sales declining by 13% to 198,552 units, Lexus was ranked third. Mercedes was No. 1 in 1999 in terms of U.S. sales but Lexus grabbed the crown the following year. This sales figure from BMW doesn’t include the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands while Mercedes’ results are excluding the Sprinter commercial vehicle.

With regards to how the exterior has been designed, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has what may be the most progressive design for a model in the compact segment. In terms of ground clearance for example, it is lower by 18 cm when compared to the previous model which allows it to convey, with a quick look, a sense of dynamism and design.

It is clear that this series production car carries the radical language that was shown when the A-Class Concept was first unveiled. Indeed, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a good example when talking about the design strategy of the brand. Appearance-wise, the new A-Class comes with a two-box design having its own unique character.

While the exterior has a sporty feel, the interior reveals a high-quality feel to it. In addition to the design, the new A-Class is equipped with powerful engines having output at a minimum of 109 hp (80 kW) and maximum at 211 hp (155 kW).

Efficiency is just as excellent with CO2 emissions of 98 g/km. Even coefficient of drag is excellent having a value of 0.27. Safety is not taken for granted as standard equipment includes, among others, the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST radar-based system.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, who is Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and also the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, reveals that Mercedes-Benz is starting to become the world’s dynamic premium brand. With everything about it being new, down to the final detail, the new A-Class marks a significant milestone for this development, he continues.

When it comes to development in the automotive industry, Dr Zetsche adds, it is rare to get an opportunity to start from scratch and when given that chance, the engineers made the most out of it. For the German market, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY is priced at €23,978.50, which includes 19% VAT.

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