Mercedes-Benz Says A-Class Sedan is Bound for the United States

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

When you desperately want a status-defining automobile from Mercedes-Benz, but haven’t budgeted for it, you have a few of options. You could purchase either the GLA or CLA250 for around $33,000 — or take the nontraditional route, save yourself a bundle, and buy a Metris van. But, since the CLA is technically a “four-door coupe,” there’s nothing out there for sedan shoppers who can’t afford the pricier C-Class.

Benz is planning on changing that by bringing the updated A-Class to the United States next fall, thereby making it the brand’s new entry-level model for the region.

“We truly believe that now with the body style we have the right answer for the market,” Britta Seeger, the brand’s global sales chief, told Automotive News in a recent interview. “It’s a very attractive car for younger people,” she explained. “But not only for younger people — it can have a broad audience because it’s a nice entrance into the Mercedes-Benz family.”

However, Mercedes’ strategy isn’t entirely clear. November small car sales are down 12.4 percent against last year and, on the luxury side of things, the drop was around 7.2 percent. Likewise, the CLA saw a noticeable drop in sales volume for 2017. Last year, U.S. deliveries reached 25,792 units. But, if the model hopes to surpass 20,000 by the end of this year, it’s going to need to witness relatively strong December sales.

Meanwhile, the GLA has kept pace with market trends. As a crossover, it looks to achieve roughly the same sales volume in 2017 as it did in 2016. So why would Mercedes introduce another car to North America when SUVs and crossovers seem to be the safer bet?

Presumably, it has something to do with the new looks of the A Concept that was shown at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. But, while handsome, the new design is less eye-catching from any angle other than straight-on. Spy shots of the updated A-Class have confirmed its overall shape to be less complicated than the current domestic offerings. When chief design officer Gorden Wagener said “the time of creases is over,” he clearly meant it. Sharing the same front-drive MFA2 architecture with both the CLA and GLA means it’s not likely to offer anything all that different under the sheet-metal either. But there are two important exceptions.

Firstly, the A-Class’ taller greenhouse should make for a comparably spacious interior — an aspect that used to be very important when shopping for a luxury automobile. Secondly, Benz claims the model will benefit from upgraded interior elements and improved tech. However, we’re most curious about the vehicle’s price.

Mercedes has been quiet about MSRP and odds are good it will launch a sliver below the CLA. But, if the brand can get it even one dollar below $30,000, that would truly open it up to shoppers that may not have never considered purchasing a luxury option before. All Seeger had to say on the pricing matter was “We will see.”

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 30-mile fetch 30-mile fetch on Dec 18, 2017

    A Mercedes for GTI money? Having recently sampled the MB dealership experience as a prole rooting about for pre-owned vehicles, I can see how that concept would be appealing. But I'm not clear on how this will differentiate itself from the god-awful claustrophobic CLA aside from (a bit) more interior room, which doesn't seem all that plausible given the roofline shown here. The CLA was initially touted at the "sub-$30K Mercedes" as well, debuting at something like $29,995 but that apparently didn't last.

  • EX35 EX35 on Dec 18, 2017

    I posted this on the other thread, but I've recently become interested in picking up a late model German sedan covered by a long CPO warranty. I was surprised to find CPO 2016 E350s (E class, not C class)with under 30K miles for as low as $31K. To my untrained eye, that seems like a steal, given that the CPO/B2B warranty will cover me until 2021. What's the catch? Even if I were to dump it as soon as the warranty expires, by my calculations, it would still be much cheaper than leasing a brand new E class. Is MB bad about honoring CPO warranty work? Do these things break constantly once the thing hits 50K?

    • See 5 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 19, 2017

      @EX35 Now I see the method to your madness. $800/mo for an E-class is insane to me. This is a mortgage for frak's sake, and for an I4 German midsize? Surly they jest.

  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
  • Mister They've got their work cut out for them. I live in a large metropolitan city of 1.2+ million people, the is a single Mitsubishi dealer. It's really more like a used-car dealer that sells Mitsubishi on the side. With the remarkably cheesy name of "Johnny Legends".