Mercedes-Benz Increases Its U.S. Luxury Lead Over BMW On Strong CLA Sales
February 18th, 2014 2:10 AM Share
In the new $29,900 CLA coupe’s first full month of U.S. sales, Mercedes-Benz sold 4,895 units in October, helping the brand post a 25% increase over last October’s sales and double it’s lead over BMW, the number two luxury brand in this market.
In addition to the CLA, deliveries of the E-class were up 23%, with total sales for the month at 30,069. By comparison, BMW brand October sales were 27,574 vehicles, a 4% increase over last year. For the year, M-B has sold 245,125 units compared to BMW’s 240,139, Lexus’ 213,479, and Cadillac’s 148,206. Lexus sales are up 12% for the year and Cadillac is up 27% on the year to date.
Published November 6th, 2013 8:30 AM
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It's amazing how a luxury car get adopted so quickly, I mean, this car just came out and I can see them everywhere, one reason might be that I'm in NYC, still, it's not a Camry. Also, the lease deals that Mercedes is offering are very tempting, it's true also with the C class as well as BMW 3 series. Again, I know leasing is king with luxury cars specially in NYC but still, it's not cheap!
Caddies and Lincolns lost "presence" from their styling portfolios. Lincoln is basically Ford's top trim line and I'd nominate the Navigator as the worst of this. Caddy had a hit with CTS, even a CTS-V. Sadly Caddy makes no cars, repeat no cars that any self respecting jazz-man would drive or have a Nudie suit in the trunk.
Did you just awake from a coma that lasted 25 years or was that a serious question?
Got to wondering about this CLA, so dropped into the local Mercedes dealer Dec 6. It was raining and just above freezing and none were sitting in the showroom, but the sales manager, noting the ambient conditions and applying his vast experience and logic, assigned the junior salesman to show me the white one outside. This the young man bore with no complaint whatsoever, a nice guy. Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that the front door cards are undersized, so that at the rear of them you get to look at (in this case) white painted metal, about a quarter-inch of top-quality Hungarian stamping. Ahem. Oh yes. Then you notice the boy-racer Comand screen sprouting out of the top of the stitched vinyl dash on a pole. It doesn't motor down into the dash or anything, and is controlled by a chrome-plated knob of dubious pedigree on the very plastic center console. Classy. But hip, the nice man assured me, although every single client had been annoyed by it, so appropriate feedback was being sent back to HQ, and he was going to add on the point about the door cards, as it was glaringly obvious. The windows are so small you feel you are sitting down inside a black coal bin, with just your head peeping out above the doortop for a quick squint around to see what dangers lurk nearby. No headroom to speak of and this car had no sunroof. At five-nine, it was satisfactory for me but only just. I had settled my behind in the good-fitting Artico (not MBTex) vinyl seat, and fiddled with the seat adjusters. Artico stands for Artificial Cow, and no, I am not kidding. Somewhere, a German marketing man like B. Schmitt is quaffing another litre of Lowenbrau and laughing his ass off at putting a word pun over on the high and mighty Anglos, hearty ha ha. The really high quality vinyl is reserved for the S Klasse and is still called MB Tex. Neither are anywhere near as good as the pleather found in high-quality furniture. However, bravo Mercedes! The passenger seat has all the same adjustments (12 way) as the driver gets. Everyone else, and I mean everyone, cheaps out on the passenger seat. The Accord Coupe gives you 4 way manual, fr'instance, oh yeah. The nice man asked if I wanted a drive, and I assented. While he ran off to photocopy my driver's licence and no doubt check my credit rating, I took the time to note that the B-pillar was directly to my left. A trial look over my shoulder as I am wont to do when merging, revealed precisely nothing. You can't look back at all, a definite plus for those who like a little artificial danger on their morning commute. The mini-console on the headliner seemed low-hanging, so I gave it an upward push, and the headliner went up a half-inch. Hey, where's that bottle of contact cement when you need it? The rain abated as the sales guy returned. He wanted to back it out of the tight spot. The 2.0T engine sounded like an original Mini while puffing steam from its twin exhausts, farting tinnily. Then back in the driver's seat. How do you make this thing go? Gear selector on right hand side of steering column, which is some kind of springy thingy you tap down to get to Drive 1. "Electric," explained the the salesman. "So is mine, but it's on the console," I said. "Ah!" he replied, "But customer feedback favored less clutter on the center console." That's when I noticed how narrow the car is inside - tumblehome. Anyway, after three tries at getting in Drive (kept tapping too much and getting back to neutral), I gassed it and moved off. Trundling off and noting the steering was of the totally feedbackless variety, like all the other new cars I've recently driven, and hence utterly useless at divining road texture or anything else, I swung the helm over and proceeded down the worst piece of road we have around these parts. Located on a side-street conveniently branching off Car Dealer Row, I found the CLA a trifle abrupt, bouncy and clonky at the front and generally rattly. But, better than most cars, let it be said; Mazda6 no likee this piece of broken pavement. The DCT 7speed auto looks for a high gear at once, but always seemed to be in the right gear for acceleration, no complaint from me. Tire noise is prominent from the front wheels at all times, however, in the same way a Yaris engine always seems to be right under your toes. A couple of halfway decent right hand turns onto side steets evinced more lean and subsequent settling after returning to straight ahead than I'm used to. It's slightly weird, because you feel as though you're sitting high in a CUV hence the lean, but objectively of course, you're not. A Mazda CX-5 feels less tippy. Merely a characteristic. Giving it some welly from a standing start caused the right-front wheel to spin, as the engine is a willing power-producer. The traction control almost instantly reins in the wheelspin, feeling like rapid-fire ABS. I tried this several times just to be sure that wet road causes judder on takeoff, as big low end torque and FWD have a fight. Enough of this, which is not acceptable to me, period, I tootled around for a few more minutes, finding the front suspension definitely clonky (not as good as a Fiat 500 on the same streets, and if you don't believe me, go and drive the two cars before calling my parenthood into question - armchair pontificators get lost). Tire noise is prominent. So, this CLA is weird. Terrible visibility, easy to tootle about in, gas and brake feel intuitive, cheapo interior, a back seat the clone of an ATS, i.e. just about useless. Some serious wick. A turbo Corolla. Just the job for the missus, as the Brits would say. Mercedes badge and good at tootling about on shopping errands. Cheerful and light feeling. So, I'm booked for a drive in the 4matic when they come in, Feb or March, to see what that's like. Got back into my '08 Legacy GT. Big windows. Full power from stop, no wheelspin, far superior steering, nicer head liner, wider inside, less front suspension clonking (never been good and yes, the Fiat 500 is better than my car too), and much flatter cornering. Also about half the mpg, I'd guess. But it feels like a real and substantial car instead of a lightweight pootler. The CLA is a pleasant but cheap and cheerful feeling runabout in FWD form. Nothing like a real Mercedes with its measured gait. And yet, in some funny way, I rather liked it. Cannot really tell you why. At $36K for the one I drove, it seems overpriced, but then so is everything else trying to be more than a typical compact. You NEED the rearview camera package, a mere $2850. The best deal of any car out there has to be the Accord Sport, but it's hardly a must have either. The search continues. A3 or UKL1 next when available.