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Mercedes May Finally Bring Little A-Class to U.S.

New mini-lux model would roll out of new Mercedes plant in Mexico.

by on Sep.28, 2015

The Mercedes A-Class is one of five different models based on the small luxury platform.

The boardroom at Mercedes-Benz was wracked with turmoil when the German maker first considered adding a compact luxury car to its line-up. But the original Mercedes 190 was an instant success, and what is today known as the C-Class is one of the anchors of its line-up.

That meant far less debate when the company eventually decided to roll out a procession of even smaller models. If anything, the new CLA sedan and GLA crossover have become even bigger hits in the critical North American market.

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Until now, however, Mercedes hasn’t been willing to also let its pint-sized A-Class model make the trans-Atlantic jump. But it appears that this reluctance is starting to vanish and American motorists may soon find another downsized offering in Mercedes showrooms.


Pics Leak of New Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept

Show car scheduled for Shanghai unveiling.

by on Apr.17, 2013

Mercedes will reveal the GLA Concept in Shanghai this coming weekend.

It’s getting more and more difficult to keep secrets these days. Just ask Mercedes-Benz. The German maker had hoped to reveal its new GLA Concept on the opening day of the Shanghai Auto Show but images and details have already begun to leak out, as you can see here.

If the name sounds familiar, no surprise. Like the recently launched CLA, the new Mercedes GLA is based on the same basic platform as the maker’s A-Class line.  But it’s intended to create a more rugged appearance than the CLA hatchback – borrowing liberally from the larger and more familiar Mercedes GLK.

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Yes, it’s an alphabet soup as the Teutonic marque continues to fill every conceivable luxury niche. And if you like what you see, start saving.  The concept is expected to reappear in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show this coming September, with sales set to begin around mid-2014.


The Hottest Small Car We May Not Get

Mercedes pulls the wraps off A45 AMG.

by on Mar.08, 2013

No plans for the US - for now, anyway - the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG at its Geneva debut.

Take a close look.  Breathe deeply, then sigh.  Finally, start sending out those e-mails.  A deposit check might help, too.

For now, it seems, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to bring over its sporty new small car, the A-Class, including the high-performance version, the Mercedes A45 AMG that is drawing crowds at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Too bad.  The pint-sized luxury model is the latest incarnation of the Mercedes A-Class and a major shift in direction from the previous generation, abandoning the ungainly tall wagon approach for this more elegant shape that might almost be called a coupe-like wagon.

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Several more mainstream versions of the new A-Class recently went on sale in Europe, both gas and diesel powered. But the big news in Geneva was the unveiling of the AMG edition.  This is the luxury equivalent of the hot hatch.


Daimler Earnings Suffers as Euro Market Tumbles

German maker cuts full-year forecast.

by on Oct.25, 2012

CEO Dieter Zetsche, pop star Aloe Blacc and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class wagon. Daimler is counting on the new small car to help reverse recent setbacks.

Daimler AG’s earnings dropped by more than 12% in the third quarter and the company expects earnings before interest and taxes to decline for the full year as the European auto slump takes its toll on the company.

The maker is now counting on new product, especially the next-generation A-Class, to help reverse recent declines. But analysts warn a turnaround could be several quarters away.

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“Considering the significantly more difficult market conditions, Daimler achieved good earnings results for the third quarter, said Dieter Zetsche, “Due to the economic challenges, Daimler will not match the high prior-year EBIT in full-year 2012, but will still post good earnings once again,” the Daimler Chairman and CEO emphasized.


Mercedes Seeks Help Meeting Strong Demand for New A-Class

Germans turn to Finnish maker Valmet to boost capacity.

by on Jul.24, 2012

Mercedes doesn't expect to be able to meet demand for the new A-Class on its own.

For the first time since its 1997 introduction Mercedes-Benz plans to sell its smallest model, the A-Class in the U.S. – and to help meet anticipated global demand the luxury maker is turning to a partner to help boost capacity.

Finnish specialty company Valmet Automotive has agreed to produce an extra 100,000 A-Class models between 2013 and 2016, Mercedes confirmed today, as a result of the “very positive resonance” for the all-new version of the subcompact.

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“Our new compacts are so popular with our customers that the Rastatt and Kecskemét plants are completely utilized,” explained Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the Mercedes board member overseeing production.  “We thus signed Valmet as an experienced production specialist who will provide us with additional A-Class capacities as of 2013.”


Computer Chip Giant Intel Betting on the Connected Car

Intel inside?

by on Mar.08, 2012

Mercedes, for one, is betting connected car technology will be as important to many potential A-Class buyers as the engine under the hood.

Interest in the connected car is steadily growing as consumers demand to have internet and mobile phone services at their fingertips, even when they’re behind the wheel.

Intel Corp., which now considers automobiles a major source of demand for smart devices, plans to spend $100 million between now and 2014 on an initiative designed to spur innovation and product development to significantly enhance the functionality of connected cars in the years ahead.

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“In today’s mobile world, personal computing touches every part of consumers’ daily lives while at home, at the office and on the road,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “By broadening our research efforts, academic and capital investments and opening the Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center, Intel is deepening its understanding of how people interact with their cars and how Intel innovations can enhance the automotive experience.”


Pop Star Aloe Blacc Helps Introduce Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Small is going to be big.

by on Mar.06, 2012

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, pop star Aloe Blacc and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class wagon.

With pop star Aloe Blacc belting out “I Need a Dollar,” Mercedes-Benz officials took the wraps off the next-generation A-Class during their news conference at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

As Mercedes brand boss Dieter Zetsche acknowledged, it will take more than a dollar to park one in your driveway, but the maker hints that even with a wide range of new technology, it will be holding the line on the price of the A-Class when it comes to market later this year.

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The smallest model in the Mercedes line-up will first roll into European showrooms then fan out to dealers around the world.  That will include the U.S. market for the first time, a senior Mercedes executive telling Americans will see the A-Class reach their shores by the end of 2013 or early 2014.


Daimler Planning New North American Plant

Maker looking at options in U.S. and Mexico.

by on Jan.25, 2012

The new Mercedes plant would likely produce a version of the next-gen A-Class - and possibly the Infiniti Etherea, as well.

Hoping to gain a leg up on its luxury market rivals, Daimler AG is looking at adding at least two more plants to its global production network – one in China and the other some place in North America.

The new plants could be a critical step in regaining the global sales lead as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand battles key rivals BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi brand.  Mercedes narrowly lost the U.S. sales crown to the Bavarians in 2011.

Mercedes officials told Germany’s Manager Magazin the plan is to double the brand’s worldwide output to 2.7 million by 2020.  It sold 1.26 million Mercedes-badged vehicles in 2011, about 120,000 less than BMW. Significantly, the publication said Daimler is aiming for a 10% operating margin by the end of this decade.

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One of the questions is hoping to resolve is what role Nissan will play in the selection and operation of a new Mercedes plant in North America.  Could Daimler be looking at adding production capacity of its own alongside a new Nissan facility newly announced for Mexico?


Mercedes offers a Tease of Next-Gen A-Class

Will Americans accept a pocket-sized Benz?

by on Jan.24, 2012

Mercedes expects to produce as many as four variants of the next-gen A-Class.

Luxury cars have traditional been measured by the inch and pound.  But times are changing – at least in most parts of the world.  But it remains to be seen whether U.S. buyers will embrace the pint-sized Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the smallest model ever developed by the German luxury giant.

Downsized luxury cars, such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series, haven’t exactly been hits with traditional buyers.  But, as this teaser image – (and a 56-second preview you can check out on You.Tube) – suggests, Mercedes isn’t going after the same customer who would opt for an S-, E- or even a C-Class.

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To underscore its focus on the tech-savvy Gen-X and Millennial customers just entering the luxury market in serious numbers, Mercedes has bathed the prototype shown her in QR codes, the more advanced version of barcodes, which can be used to find out more about the third-generation A-Class.


First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Small cars are big in luxury.

by on Sep.15, 2011

Mercedes-Benz is betting the new version of its B-Class will help it gain ground in the market for small luxury cars.

Small cars are big these days, as the posters for the Frankfurt Motor Show declare.  And while that’s probably no surprise among mainstream brands like Volkswagen, which focused much of its news conference on the micro-sized Up! line, even luxury makers are getting into the downsizing game.

This year’s big European auto show brings out a variety of models designed to show that luxury doesn’t have to be measured by the pounds and inches – er, kilograms and meters – though many of the offerings on display, such as the Audi A2, are glimpses of products yet to come.  Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, says the time is now with the remake of its compact B-Class people-mover.

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Adopting an all-new chassis and a significantly refined look, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is one of roughly a half-dozen new small car models the German luxury icon is planning to bring to market in the next year or so.

The B-Car will start rolling into showrooms by autumn, in fact.  And Mercedes will have a lot riding on it as the maker’s earlier take on the compact luxury class generated only moderate sales, at best when compared to rivals like BMW and Audi.