By on June 19, 2017

A Class Concept Mercedes, Image: Daimler AG

Get ’em young and get ’em poor upwardly mobile. That seems to be Mercedes-Benz’s rationale behind the upcoming A-Class sedan, which should arrive in the U.S. later next year.

According to dealers who spoke to Automotive News, the German automaker has confirmed the front-wheel drive model will indeed appear on these shores, slotted below brand’s current least-expensive car, the CLA. No longer a somewhat geeky, Euro-centric mini hatch, the global A-Class appears tailor-made to lure buyers away from other brands.

We’ve known the new sedan — which uses an updated version of the modular MFA platform underpinning the CLA and other front-drive Benz products — had a global market in mind, but the word from this month’s dealer convention in Miami is the first unofficial confirmation of the model’s U.S. future. (The automaker is remaining silent.) Dealers in attendance were reportedly shown images of the real thing. For now, we’ll have to be content to imagine the brand’s A-Class concept, seen above, in production guise.

While early reports suggested the A-Class would snuggle up between the CLA and rear-drive C-Class in terms of pricing and status, that doesn’t appear to be the case. No, this will be the brand’s new entry-level model, the dealers claim. What does that mean for price? Potentially, a starting MSRP below the magical $30,000 mark.

If Benz pulls it off, shoppers who had no intention of looking at premium brands might just find themselves considering a Mercedes-Benz. And, once in, those buyers might decide to stay with the brand as their income — and family — grows.

“It just gives us another opportunity to bring that youthful buyer in and have them grow up with the brand,” Jeff Aiosa, a New London, Connecticut dealer, told Automotive News. “It looked like it would be very appealing to the millennial buyer.”

Mercedes-Benz is expected to offer the A-Class in a wide range of flavours, from entry-level to hybrid to a snarling AMG variant. While consumers are increasingly turning away from traditional passenger cars, Mercedes clearly sees the opportunity for conquest sales — rivals BMW and Audi being the most obvious target.

The model is expected to appear in September 2018 as a 2019 model.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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43 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz A-Class is Coming, Could Start Below $30,000: Dealers...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I literally winced when I read the title. Good luck MB.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      This is the thread that launches 1,000 ships (or sh*ts I dont know).

      I suspect that a few months down the track we will be expecting Baruth’s review of this.

      Where do we begin with this??? last time it was the $29,990 CLA sedan.

      I suspect they will have to outdo that with a $27,490 ALC* sedan based on the new MFA common chassis (*name TBD).

      The TLA is killing me.

      I’m not completely against this because like most of you, we will be unwitting bystanders to this, but never enough to even consider even waling into a showroom to see this thing.

      And yet, we also know the full battle plan already… the jacked up softroader, the wagon, the hatch and the “AMG enhanced” versions and then the full juice AMG model.

      Of course we get decent straight line speed but then also an annoying turbo 4 sound… and also a resolution understeer handling tune that isnt at all fun.

      And then we hear CLA/GLA sales are down. They have the same service pricing as the other Mercedes products.

      I can put up with their ridiculous A/B plan servicing at the E class level but at the $29,900 mark? Nah. A pox on this house.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The CLA *is* the nicer, four-door coupe version of the A-Class. In theory. In reality, the current CLA is based on an older A-Class. Either way, like the article says, you can expect the A-Class to slot in beneath the CLA-Class. Automakers typically charge a not-insignificant premium to get into the four-door-coupe versions of their sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Aren’t the FWD cars rebadged Nissans? Surely this will be too. I kind of like the styling of the car above, but it looks like a chunky emerging market econobox, not a remotely premium product.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The happiest people will be CLA lessees that no longer have the indignity of paying on the cheapest Mercedes.

    FWIW, CLA sales are in the toilet (even compared to other free-fall sedans) and even GLA sales are down 25%.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    They tried this once before in the early 00’s with the C230, which started just shy of $25k. It’s kind of telling that the current C-class will be two full “classes” above their new sub-$30k car.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    Cheaper than the CLA in both price and material quality? Hard to believe it will sell, but it will, because of the badge, not on its own merits.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I think it will only hurt the brand. During the depression Packard came out with the cheaper Clipper. After that the Packard never had the status it once had.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    How do you say “Cimarron” in German?

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Why does MB even bother developing such a car? Just take a Nissan Versa Note, put on the shiny illuminated Tri-Star grill, sell for $29,995. Profit.

    The people that lease them wouldn’t know the difference.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I guess this is the “sub entry level luxury” market we’re talking. In theory it could succeed, and Audi still does decent business with the A3, but no one’s really scored with it yet. And here’s why: the two cars I can think of that have occupied this segment – the Buick Verano and the Mercedes CLA – were clearly, obviously cheap. I think that’s why the CLA failed after its’ initial sales romp – if you remove the Benz logo from the car, it’s no nicer than a top of the line Mazda 3.

    Now, if Mercedes did something like the CLA, with the same kind of obvious interior quality the C-class has, make it drive “Benz,” and sell it for around $35,000, they’d have something.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      According the the Mercedes website (and discounting taxes), it is about $75/month more to lease a C300 over a CLA250.

      I dont think any of the “super entry-level” premium marquee cars have much of a future under the current leasing environment.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        C-class has a better residual, which explains some of that.

        I actually do see a future with this kind of car, if the manufacturer does it right. They’d have to a) over-deliver in terms of quality and luxury feel, and b) probably over-support the lease. That’d make it a loss leader. But if the goal is getting new blood into the dealers, it might work. Just sayin’.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I do wonder if this is the same A-klasse as is sold in Europe. If it is not, I do wonder why a billion or so was necessary as opposed to just produce more C-klasse and offer a better lease to get ye poor in the door.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Apparently it’s a sedan version of the current A-class, which is a hatchback, and we all know Americans would pooh-pooh that.

            If it looks anything like the concept, it should have some showroom presence.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            It’s a descendent of the old A-Class, isn’t it? The RWD one with the engine under the seat (like the Smart)? The one that famously failed the moose test?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        A wrinkle in this is that the current leasing environment doesn’t have much of a future in the current monetary environment :)

  • avatar
    Yankee

    This strategy has never worked yet. They tried this in 2002 with the C230 Kompressor Sport Coup and only succeeded in cheapening the brand. BMW’s 1998 318i four-cylinder was successful in bringing in buyers who stretched their payment so far to the maximum just to say that they owned a BMW that when it needed air in the tires they couldn’t afford it. (Service advisors used to scatter like roaches when they saw a 318 pull in the service drive, knowing they were in for a battle with a customer who thought everything including brakes and tires should be covered under warranty and wouldn’t pay for any maintenance.) Volvo tried the same thing with the S40/V40 in 2000 with similar results.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the main reason the C230 failed was that it was gawdawful ugly. Same for the BMW 318 you mention.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yeah, those were stubby little liftback-coupes (and they were still at least RWD). Which is an entirely different body style.

        Although I’d never buy one, I could sort of see the appeal of an ordinary sedan as an entry-level, sub-30K Mercedes-Benz.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Let’s be real – it’s not gonna sell for under $30,000. No chance. We’re talking about a mid-$30,000 price point, hopefully with lots of equipment.

  • avatar
    derekson

    So it’ll be even shittier than the CLA?

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    The CLA is already very small, I could see a hatch but a smaller sedan than the CLA?

  • avatar
    skor

    The Benz star hanging on something that can be had for $99 down and $99 a month? That will really improve the standing of your brand with the people who buy your cars because they don’t want to be associated with anyone who gets into a ride for $99/$99.

  • avatar

    They are going downmarket to increase volume and economies of scale, but it will erode the brand image. Must be why they are doing Maybach versions of the higher end models. Eventually Maybach will become a stand alone brand again, positioned above a more “mainstream” Mercedes.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I wonder how the upcoming entry level Cadillac CT3 will stack up against it.

    If the A class appears much like the photo it will certainly look pretty bitchin’ at least.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Waiting for another regional sales director to proclaim it as an “authentic Mercedes-Benz.”

  • avatar
    stingray65

    A polished turd for badge whores.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Most buyers *are* badge whores. Otherwise everyone would be driving Nissan Versas.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Mike, I would certainly agree that the badge whore segment is growing in most markets, but the Fords, Chevys, Toyotas, and VWs of the world are still dominant. Cars like the A-Class are the supposed to tempt those who would otherwise buy a loaded Focus or Golf, but decide they want the upscale badge instead. The problem for Mercedes is the ownership experience is not very positive for the A-Class because M-B have to cut so many corners to get the price down to Ford and VW level, and they don’t have the economies of scale of the mass-market brands. That’s why they use Renault engines. Will brand whores who have a lousy experience with their A-Class really trade-up to a “real” Mercedes (i.e. C-class or higher) next time?

  • avatar
    tylanner

    They have all the means to enter and thrive in this market so I am not going to scornfully dismiss this foray until I have a chance to see the car. The success will depend on the quality and design of the product…nothing more…nothing less.

    If they push out another amorphous blob with a MB badge that comes in white, red, black and silver for $30k I will be back to rip it apart with the rest of the community.

    I agree that the brand desperately needs a dose of cool and, as they state, an bump in younger MB buyers.

    They will no doubt make sacrifices in the quality of the interior and features which can infect the entire MB line once the businessmen see the cost savings…

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Let me guess: The under 30 grand version has a two cylinder engine, an interior designed by Little Tykes, no GPS, and roll down windows.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    deanst

    In theory, MB should be able to do a decent car starting at $30k. Sell the base model at a loss if necessary, and make all your money on the loaded versions at $40k plus. I would actually be more impressed with a decent MB at this price, than whatever new electronic gizmo they are adding to their $150k s class.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I like small cars and don’t mind some luxury too. But, at some point I need to have a 5th door/wagon/hatch for hauling convenience. I’d also like a manual, but I’m not going to get greedy here.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Sort of like a $500 Rolex. Eventually people stop finding a reason to pay the premium when everyone can afford it.

    It doesn’t really matter to me, I’m not a Mercedes fan, but watching it from the sidelines, it’s just going to further diminish the brand when it’s not much more than a Civic
    or Corolla.

  • avatar
    adiai

    Get ’em young and get ’em poor upwardly mobile. That seems to be Mercedes-Benz’s rationale behind the upcoming A-Class sedan, which should arrive in the U.S. later next year OR CONSIDERING THE TERRIBLE RELIABILITY OF MERCEDES BENZ VEHICLES (ITS EVEN FAR BELOW HYUNDAI NOW), THEY MAY NEVER BUY ANOTHER MERCEDES AGAIN…..


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