By on December 17, 2017

A Class Concept Mercedes, Image: Daimler AG

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.

Mercedes-Benz A-Klasse, W177

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]

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37 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz Says A-Class Sedan is Bound for the United States...”


  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Attention K-Mart shoppers, your very own Mercedes-Benz is ready.

    • 0 avatar
      Mud

      ^^this, exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      John – that is an insult to K-Mart shoppers – this is more like a Mercedes for Dollar store shoppers.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      There is a peculiar North American conceit that “luxury” must mean “large”, which I have never understood.

      I haven’t driven the A-Class, so won’t comment on it. I have driven the B-Class, and the A3, and the Hyundai/Kia cars that are comparably sized.

      In terms of features, quality of materials and drivability, the MB and Audi models are streets ahead of their econobox counterparts. And priced accordingly.

  • avatar
    amca

    A $30,000 Mercedes is a Mercedes in name only.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      According to my 1971 auto almanac, a new Mercedes-Benz 220 cost $4,961. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $25,023.78 That was for a midsized car with a four cylinder engine; the equivalent of an E300 today. Was the 220 a real Mercedes-Benz? IMO, it was far more of one than today’s planned obsolescence embodying, over-styled, gadget-laden, Chinese market focused compliance specials. The German luxury cars of today have far more in common philosophically with 1958 Cadillacs than they do with the cars of Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Paul Rosche.

      As for the A, GLA, CLA, ETC; aren’t they really Nissan-Renaults under the skin?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Hecho en China?

  • avatar
    The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.

    Hyundai/Kia has been working hard to become Mercedes Benz.

    Mercedes Benz has been working hard to become Hyundai/Kia.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Hey, that’s pretty decent looking. Smooth and uncluttered.
    That said.
    Wow, what happened to that cute little micro van style 1997 A-class I drove in Germany back then?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I usually wound up with a first-gen A-class as my go-to rental every time I went to Germany and rather enjoyed them. Felt pretty solid and so easy to see out of and get around town in. That said, I doubt they would have sold well in the US. If I had ever gone back to Germany permanently, it was on my short-list of vehicles. Something lower than a CLA, while maybe garnering a few more sales, won’t do much to improve brand status. Heck, for less than the potential price of an A-class, I’d prefer a Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        A bread-van A-class was a disaster in terms of reliability and durability – they have almost entirely disappeared off the roads. They were also expensive to build with two floor pans and I don’t think MB ever made a profit on them. The follow-up A-class has consequently been much more conventional in both engineering and appearance.

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          You are badly mistaken. The first A class was a smashing sales and financial success for the company. Over one million were produced and they are still very much a common sight on the roads today. You have to remember that these are old cars now and the people who typically bought these went for the successor models as soon as they appeared.

          Until 2007 I owned a 1998 A170 CDI (diesel) which was punished daily (30,000 km per year on average) with high speed Autobahn cruises. I enjoyed that vehicle. It was stolen near the Polish border with a little under 320,000 km. If it had not been stolen I would have kept it. My next car was a 2008 Audi A4 2.0 TDI which I recently sold with an astonishing mileage of 650,000 km.

          These A class cars may not have been over-engineered like a W124 or the Mercedes of older years, but they were nonetheless well-made, reliable and durable.

          The van A class you are thinking of must be the Vaneo, which was a sales flop because it was overpriced (and aesthetically questionable), but it was a practical, roomy and comfortable car.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Glad you have had good luck, but doesn’t seem to be typical:

            https://classics.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/mercedes-benz/a-class/

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          The early A classes had some build quality issues which were continuously improved early on (after the rollover embarrassment). True, they were not as over-engineered as past Mercedes products, but they are cheap cars that can easily be fixed. Keep in mind that early W124s also had reliability issues which were essentially fixed by the company ‘overnight’ and that car is a popular and much-loved Mercedes product.

          My diesel A class was very reliable. It always started and it never left me stranded. The only major component or comfort accessorie which failed was the air conditioning system in 2005, but there was rarely a reason to use it since the summers were milder then. By 2007 the car was showing its age, especially since most of my commutes were high speed Autobahn cruises all over Germany. It was a good car, but I did not want another A class, so when it was stolen I wanted to return to my roots and buy another Audi.

  • avatar
    slap

    They would be better off bringing a CUV based on the A-Class – sedans are dying.

  • avatar

    Americans take Mercedes Benz too seriously. It is just a car company like Ford or GM which make Lincoln and Cadillac. I will not be surprised if Daimler-Benz makes toasters too.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    They do make large bread boxes called the Sprinter.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It all depends on the lease deals. Think 1500$ down and 249$ a month for 36 months.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven a variety of Benzes – the CLA and even the C class are cheap. The E class is fantastic. The S class is just too weird. Too much.

    I wouldn’t consider anything below the E to be a “real” Mercedes-Benz.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    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.

  • avatar
    EX35

    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?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’d look at the fine print on the CPO itself and ensure it is backed/issued by Daimler AG and not a third party. Wearables are usually very expensive on those and I don’t believe covered by CPO. Quote pads/rotors, tires, wipers, light bulbs and factor those into your TCO equation.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Additional: The current range on the MY12s is 11,1-15,9 (4MATIC range 11,9-17,9) with avg miles only 81K (MY11 nearly the same). So at 31 + ttl you’re looking at 33+ otd, and will depreciate roughly 20K or more in five years. So 20K on a payment with 13K down means you’re burning about $444 a month (assuming 3.1%) for five years assuming you can get the 12ish to 15ish back on resale. Whats a lease price?

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        A 2017 base E class with the 2.0T leases for $550/month + Tax + $5000 down. I imagine zero down, and including tax/fees, you’d be looking at $800/month easy. That seems insane for a 4-cyl vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          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.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      Technically a 2016 is still under factory warranty and not CPO. Most likely the car was an ex-loaner if it’s a 16 or 17. That said a basic W212 was around 40-50k new without crazy options.

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        The 1 year CPO would kick in after year 4 of the B2B expires, so around 2020. I believe the base E350 started at $52K. I think it may be a 18-month lease trade in, as I have never seen an E-class loaner. Maybe demo for the dealer’s wife perhaps?


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