Everything A-Class: Mercedes Planning Eight New Vehicles On New Platform

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Mercedes-Benz plans to launch eight cars off the back of the new A-Class and, unsurprisingly, a bunch of them will be crossovers. While North America will have to wait until fall for the A-Class sedan, Europe will see the hatchback much sooner. However, those models are just the start of the upscale brand’s drive to push the platform into every segment its size limitations allows.

The hatch will remain the smallest model, but CEO Dieter Zetsche says Mercedes-Benz needs to keep its rivals on their toes — and the automaker intends to tap the MFA2 platform for that honor. While the expanded lineup gives MB an edge universally, we know which automaker the company is most concerned with: BMW.

“The new BMW X2 is basically like the [current] GLA,” Zetsche recently explained to Top Gear. “And you will see a new GLA. As in other segments we’ll have two interpretations. So the GLA will be more in the SUV direction, and that will expand our scope. It gives us the possibility of doing something between the A-Class and the GLA.”

“[Mercedes] will further expand the SUVs. We need something more SUV than the GLA,” he said.

That would be the the GLB — a small seven-seater that has been seen testing around Germany in some of the ugliest automotive camouflage we’ve ever seen. The model is intended to supplement B-Class MPV, which is popular in Europe. Normally we would be unlikely to see anything even tangentially related to a Euro-spec minivan grace our roads, as the segment is still experiencing automotive purgatory in the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, the GLB isn’t an MPV. It’s more akin to a pint-sized G-Class than anything else. A lower-case G-Wagen crossover, if you will.

“There will be a three-box [sedan], mostly for the USA and Asia,” elaborated Doctor Zee. Most of the motoring community has heard buzzings that China would also receive a long wheelbase version of the A-Class sedan. If Mercedes has signed off on that, it is probably counting it for one of those eight slots — nullifying the possibility of a fourth crossover. But Zetsche’s claims make it sound like there may be a more car-like crossover below the GLA.

Something doesn’t add up. We know we have the A-Class hatchback and sedan, possibly a long-wheelbase model for China, the CLA, the GLA, the GLB, and the new B-Class. That’s only seven models unless Mercedes is doing more than just musing over the sporty, car-like GLA variant. The only alternative would be the CLA Shooting Brake, but we’ve heard it rumors that a the wagon was nixed by Daimler weeks ago.

[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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  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Apr 17, 2018

    BMW and VW do platform sharing way better than MB, especially on the small side. The transverse FWD BMW platform forms the basis for all Minis, the 2 series MPV (not available in NA), and the X1/X2, but you would never know if by the looks or drive - plus they all drive well. The Mercedes FWD platform that the A class and GLA are based on are mediocre to drive, lack utility, and they all share the same mediocre looks. The excellence of the E and S classes have never been in evidence in the FWD MB platforms, so the new one better offer a huge improvement if they want to stay in the small car game.

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    • Tariqv Tariqv on Apr 18, 2018

      @sportyaccordy Well you remain reality-blind apparently...Have you even ever seen or rode in a Megane? Having seen the new A-class interior in pictures and recent first drive impressions, there is absolutely no chance a consumer looking at it will choose the Megane if he/she values quality. Besides the ride/handling, NVH qualities and design are leagues ahead. So no, the public will not be choosing a Megane over the premium MB anytime soon.

  • Ernest Ernest on Apr 17, 2018

    Am I the only one around here old enough to remember that Cadillac (and Packard before them) went down this same road. We've seen this movie before, and it never ends well. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.

  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.