Mercedes-Benz expects GLA to sell quicker than CLA in the United States

Article by Christian A., on January 21, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is expecting the GLA crossover to post a stronger demand than its CLA sibling when it becomes available this fall. Steve Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, remarked that such demand would mean there could be shortages of the GLA. The GLA is underpinned by the same platform that underpins the CLA that was launched in September 2013.

CLA has sold faster than Mercedes expected. "Inventory is tight," Cannon said. While Mercedes has yet to disclose the pricing of the GLA, the crossover will be positioned below the GLK crossover, which starts at $38,405, including shipping. The CLA, meanwhile, starts at $30,825 with shipping.

The GLA is expected to be priced higher than the CLA and will be several thousand dollars less than the GLK. The GLA will be initially offered with all-wheel drive and an fwd will be offered later.

Mercedes unveiled the high-performance GLA45 AMG last week at the Detroit auto show. According to Cannon, GLA could be even hotter than the CLA due to the growing demand for premium crossovers.

"Dealers feel there is a lot more potential in that car," he said. The GLK had a conquest rate of more than 60 percent when it was launched in 2009. Cannon expects the GLA's rate to be higher.

On the other hand, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche remarked that Mercedes is seeking ways to increase production for all its new fwd compact cars -- including the A-class and B-class hatchbacks sold in Europe.

The carmaker may add a third shift at its Hungarian site that produces the CLA, but Zetsche said that not much can be done to increase the output of current-generation compacts. "Scarcity is not the worst thing for a product," he remarked, adding that "You do not want to choke your pipeline."

The GLA from Mercedes-Benz, as a sport utility vehicle, comes with the Tradition and Progression design values. No doubt this model is the SUV of the future. Not only is the GLA an all-rounder but it has many of the brand’s signature SUV features. The difference is that this new offering is sculptural, more youthful, and clearly full of that subtle drama.

During the development of the new GLA, the design team made sure to focus on this model expressing modern luxury through sensual clarity. This is in fact that brand’s design principle. Sensual clarity has always been part of the brand’s core values of Emotion, Tradition, and Progression. The overall objective was to come up with surfaces and clear curves that display high-tech features and at the same time though it also projects, on a meta-level, an emotional appeal.

This design principle serves as that guiding light and is highlighted differently based on the model version. Indeed, Mercedes-Benz has managed to establish a link between progression and tradition, as well as avant-garde and modernity. Depending mainly on the characteristic focused by the design, each of the model series has its own specific character and even an assigned role.

Despite all of this, a Mercedes-Benz will remain to be identifiable as a Mercedes-Benz. The designers knew that it was important to keep the tradition going but at the same time put in new stylistic developments. To do this, the same designers used a selection of styling features that the brand is known for.

According to Daimler AG Vice President of Design Gorden Wagener, the GLA’s striking features show that the brand continues to practice progressive thinking and is able to attract with those off-road proportions.

The surfaces are clearly defined and manage to express both serenity and power, he added. The brand has managed to give the GLA a heightened emotional appeal and combined it with the necessary clarity, he continued.

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