Sunday 6 February 2011

Mercedes-Benz Readying Baby CLS and Small SUV

In order to attract younger customers, Mercedes is planning to launch several new compact models, all based on the brand’s upcoming MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture) platform. These new vehicles will also be offered in North America. According to an Automotive News Europe report, the Stuttgart automaker is currently working on a 'baby' CLS four-door coupe model and an SUV, which could be joined later on by a convertible or shooting brake variant.

“We will introduce the next generation of our MFA family to the U.S.”, Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes' global sales and marketing boss, told ANE in an interview. “Two variants, maybe even a third, are planned for the U.S.”, he added.
Described by company insiders as a “baby CLS”, the coupe is said to resemble the larger CLS four-door coupe and is due in summer 2013. It will be followed a year later by a BMW X1 rival with both variants to be offered in Europe three to five months ahead their U.S. debut.

The new compact car family will also replace the European A- and B-Class models, starting with the A-Class in late summer 2012. Currently, the automaker has no plans to sell these cars in America, but could do so if consumers show interest.
“The U.S. is not the typical compact hatchback market but if the demand arises, we could react very quickly and introduce these two variants in the U.S. far quicker than in the past”, the inside source said.
Furthermore, the MFA platform could be used by Mercedes’ new partner, Renault-Nissan, for a new-entry level Infiniti model, although nothing has been decided yet, Schmidt said.


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