Is Mercedes Building A Tiny X-Class With Help From Renault-Nissan?

Remember how Mercedes-Benz and Nissan-Renault have that partnership where they share engines and other technology? If these rumors are true, it may take root in a very interesting new car: a compact that will reportedly be called the X-Class.

Germany's AutoBild reports that this X-Class will be slotted between the A-Class (pictured above) and the Smart car and based on the upcoming Renault Clio that goes into production in 2018.

Their report says that if this car is built, it will have a unique design and more premium interior so as not to cheapen Mercedes-Benz's upscale image. (At least, not any more than their upcoming front-wheel drive cars already are.)

Their story says this X-Class will likely cost less than 20,000 Euros, or about $26,000, and will likely offer a 1.0-liter three-cylinder and a 1.5-lier four-cylinder. Ideally, it could spawn a crossover model as well.

As we told you a few weeks ago, Mercedes is lagging behind rivals Audi and BMW in the area of small cars. Audi has stuff like the A1, and BMW has Mini. This is a growing segment and one that Mercedes desperately needs to exploit in order to stay competitive.

Two questions arise from this: Will people want to buy a Mercedes-Benz that's based on a Renault Clio, and will such a car come to the U.S.? If I had to guess, I would say 1.) maybe and 2.) not likely. Do you guys think people would go for it?