Mercedes-Benz launches new A-Class to attract younger buyers

Article by Anita Panait, on March 8, 2012

Mercedes-Benz has launched an all-new A class hatchback that is targeted at younger buyers. It is the first compact model offered in the United States. The third-generation A class carries a fresh sporty look thanks to its longer and wider dimensions, a deviation from the second-generation’s box-type styling. Mercedes will roll out the new A class in Europe in September 2012 and in the US in 2014.

The company, however, will not market a three-door version of the A class in the U.S. "The A class is the right product at the right time and has tremendous potential to tap into new target groups and markets," Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes, said.

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz A class is available in three styling packages: urban, style and AMG sport. The car’s new revolutionary look was a result of the company’s goal to create an appearance that would appeal to younger customers, as outlined by Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener. "No other car in this segment is as progressive," Wagener said.

Mercedes-Benz did not roll out both the first and second generation A class in the US mainly because of American’s preference for larger cars and sports utility vehicles. However, situations have changed due to higher gasoline prices, government fuel-economy rules and market shifts, as well as changing customer preferences for smaller, well-equipped vehicles.

The company now plans to take advantage of this by offering the third generation A class in the US. Mercedes officials revealed that its U.S. dealers were initially reluctant to sell the new A class until they saw the new model. The third generation A class is positioned by Mercedes to widen its lead on rivals BMW and Audi as well as to adapt to more rigid fuel-economy rules.

Detailed edges and rigidly drawn surfaces mark out the exterior design of the all-new A-Class. The steady interplay amongst concave and convex surfaces makes a trademark play of light, especially at the edges of the vehicle, adding to its extraordinary look.

Standard components of the long, lively front are its articulated V-shape, the different headlamps, the radiator grille with focal Mercedes star and double slats to either side of the star, as well as the increased air intakes on the sides. The "dropping line" obvious in the side outline disperses towards the car’s front end. The design of the headlamps, along with the configuration of the light functions within them, is a key component of the design idea.

The light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been organized in such a way as to make the trademark "flare effect" for the daytime driving lights and indicators. The so-called "flare" is comprised of the feature line within the headlamp, the LED modules for the daytime running lamps and the bulb sets for the indicators. This iconic effect provides the car its enthusiastic appeal and thus defines a fresh, young face for Mercedes.

The optimal interplay of dynamic design and state-of-the-art aerodynamics is no more obvious than in the roof, with its sleek surfaces and rigid, arching bend. The outline uncovers sleek, gliding lines finishing in a flat edge. The roof spoiler, which helpfully conceals every one of the aerials, gives an additional lively touch and offers structure to the roof assembly. The beltline ascends to the rear to form an articulated wedge-shape. The side view is differentiated by sensuously formed sculptural side panels and fresh lines.

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