Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mercedes will pattern launch of new A-class sedan in the U.S. after the CLA rollout, says U.S. boss Dietmar Exler


Mercedes’ Concept A sedan, shown last year, hints at the 2019 A-class sedan that will go on sale in the U.S. in the fourth quarter.

DETROIT — Mercedes-Benz USA will pattern its launch of the 2019 A-class sedan on its approach in 2013 with the CLA compact.

“We want to duplicate the success we had with the CLA, meaning tremendous customer demand … and attracting new customers to the brand,” Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler told Automotive News at the Detroit auto show. Those CLA buyers “came from pretty much everywhere. They were substantially younger.”

Between 70 and 80 percent of early CLA buyers were conquests who hadn’t owned a Mercedes, Exler said. He thinks the A class, which will go on sale in the fourth quarter, can achieve similar levels.

Exler: Attracting new customers

Exler said he is not worried about the A class cannibalizing sales of the CLA coupe-styled sedan or the GLA compact crossover. Styling and packaging should set the vehicles apart.

It’s too early to talk about price for the A class, Exler said, but he didn’t rule out a price below $30,000. Mercedes launched the CLA with a $29,900 price before shipping.

Even if the A class is priced that low, it will still stand out as a luxury vehicle, Daimler AG design chief Gorden Wagener said in an interview.

Wagener: Interior “beyond C class”

While Mercedes won’t publicly show the production A-class sedan until after it reveals the A-class hatchback in early February, the car’s luxury credentials are apparent in its interior, Wagener said. Mercedes shared details and images of the A-class interior in November.

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