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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.”


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.


Mercedes to Offer Four Different Versions of New A-Class Minicar

A U.S. launch in the works – but when is another matter.

by on Apr.20, 2011

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Concept will be followed by four distinct body styles when the minicar goes into production.

After giving its new small car a Shanghai send-off, Mercedes-Benz rolled out a second version of its A-Class Concept for the New York Auto Show, today.  But what you see – at least in the U.S. – may not be what you get, a senior official confiding that the hatchback prototype is just one of four different body styles that will build off the subcompact luxury car platform.

The hatch Concept, shown in New York, will reappear with only minor changes, Mercedes officials noted, the most likely revision coming with the distinctive stud-like grille.

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Expect to see at least one of e four versions make it to the U.S. – the first time the A-Class will be offered here – Mercedes’ top American executive Ernst Lieb told  But the executive cautioned that the timing of the American introduction is far from set in stone.

The precise date “is pretty open,” said Lieb, though he quickly added that, “it will come.”  That could be several years after the planned 2012 debut of the redesigned A-Class in Europe.


Mercedes Will Double its A- and B-Class Line-Up

Sees growing demand for urban commuter cars

by on Apr.14, 2010

Mercedes-Benz will double the number of its offerings in the A- and B-Class segments.

Mercedes-Benz plans to double the number of vehicles it offers in the A- and B-Class segments by the end of 2011, Daimler AG chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche told the company’s shareholders.

“By the end of next year, we will offer four models in our current A-Class and B-Class segments instead of the previous two. Each of these models will demonstrate that a small Mercedes also can thrill customers,” Zetsche said as he spoke at the company’s annual meeting.

“We are very happy to have the A-and B-class class vehicles in the portfolio,” Zetsche said, adding they help Mercedes meet new regulations mandating substantial cuts in C02 emissions, which are forcing carmakers of all kinds to re-shape their product lines.

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The Daimler CEO stressed that unlike small cars of the past, the new models “will be profitable,” as well. That’s a significant issue in the luxury market, where buyers have traditionally equated size with worth.

“We will base all four successor models of the A-Class and B-Class on largely identical vehicle architecture, while simultaneously ensuring maximum product differentiation for our customers,” Zetsche said.