The new Mercedes-Benz CLA compact sedan will be the carmaker’s conquest vehicle in the United States, according to Steve Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA. Cannon told Automotive News in an interview that they set a target to reach 30,000 annual sales in the US within a few years. He remarked that they “did not come to a volume price point to do niche volume."
He said that as Mercedes ramps up production of the front-wheel-drive CLA, the volume potential of at least 30,000 over the course of time is expected, adding that the only constraint will be global production capacity. Cannon told Automotive News that the carmaker is aiming for a similar annual volume for the GLA fwd crossover that will be available for sale in September 2014.
CLA went on sale in the US in September 2013. Both the CLA and the GLA are underpinned by a new Mercedes-Benz fwd platform that will also underpin the B-class Electric Drive plug-in that will be launched in the US early 2014. The smaller A-class hatchback was the only variant did not make it to Mercedes’ US lineup. Cannon said that in the longer term, they aim the CLA to take the place of a C-class volume.
He said that supply will be limited to several thousand CLAs this year due to high demand in Europe, where it was introduced in April. Mercedes-Benz had allotted 2,500 CLAs for its U.S dealers for the Sept. 20 launch. Cannon dubs the CLA as the new "gateway" into the Mercedes-Benz brand with its $29,900 price before shipping, which costs an additional $925. Mercedes-Benz USA set the $30,000 target price at the start of CLA development.
Its exhilarating sporty proportions and potently dynamic design maxim, with its interplay amongst concave and convex surfaces provide this four-door vehicle its distinguishable look.
The car’s striking components include the bonnet implanted in the front end with powerdomes and the diamond radiator grille. The light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been positioned in such a way as to make the trademark "flare impact" for the daytime driving lights and indicators. This light signet shows the vehicle’s vigorous look and shapes a fresh Mercedes face.
Various details reveal that on a design level, the CLA speaks to a significant enhancement of the modern vintage Mercedes-Benz CLS. Three prominent lines offer structure to the car when seen from the side: the front structural edge above the wings flows towards the rear end in a characteristic dropping line. Also, a more sinewy line traverses the shoulder muscle over the rear axle, while the third feature line stretches out in a sweeping curve from the front wheel towards the rear. All in all, these lines give profundity and dynamism to the side silhouette.
The width-emphasizing rear end emanates strength and energy, presenting an interplay amongst convex and concave surfaces and edges. The gently slanting roof contour and the distinct, hallmark curvature of the rear window give the CLA with a coupe-style character from the rear, as well. The energetic impression from the rear is due to the drawn-in C-pillars in conjunction with the shoulder muscle above the rear wheel arch linings.