For decades we’ve been told that Americans just won’t pay for premium luxury in compact sedans like the Europeans frequently do. In recent years we’ve seen BMW’s 2 Series and Audi’s A3 sell in decent enough numbers to buck that tradition, but nothing smaller (or less expensive) than the CLA-Class has been available from the three-pointed star.
Back in June we’d heard reports that Benz would be bringing the A-Class sedan to the U.S. At that time, Mercedes declined to comment on the prospect, but thanks to this report from Automotive News, we’ve now got confirmation that Mercedes is making the small luxury sedan happen in the U.S..
Mercedes global brand chief Britta Seeger says, “We truly believe that now with the body style we have the right answer for the market. It’s a very attractive car for younger people, but not only for younger people — it can have a broad audience because it’s a nice entrance into the Mercedes-Benz family.”
Until now, the A-Class has always been a hatchback, and a mainstay of the European market. For the new generation, Mercedes has opted to build a sedan version of the car for key markets like China and the U.S.
Cars keep trending larger, so I find it refreshing that a company like Mercedes is investing in small cars for the U.S. market. We can hope that an A45 AMG model is coming to fight directly against Audi’s RS3. Yes, this is a golden age of small car performance and luxury.
Will anyone buy them? Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series sales combine for about 3,000 units per month in this country. The A-class should be able to undercut both of those models with a sub-$30,000 MSRP, and being a front-wheel-drive four-cylinder compact should provide better fuel mileage than both competitors, as well.
A Mercedes with a lower base price and better than average fuel economy is a desirable position for the A-Class to be in for this market. I think it’ll sell just fine, but only time will truly tell.