Mercedes thinking small for US, B-Class may be coming
A big part of the failure of the DaimlerChrysler experiment was the resistance of people on the Mercedes-Benz side of the house to share their technology or platforms with the Chrysler side for fear it would dilute Mercedes' brand image. The irony is that Mercedes started diluting their own brand image long before the merger with cars like the A-Class. The A-Class was introduced in Europe in 1997 and has never been sold in the US market although they are available in Canada. The second generation of the front wheel drive A-class was introduced in 2004 and was followed a year later by a slightly larger MPV based on it called the B-Class.
At various times over the last decade Mercedes has investigated bringing both the A and B-Class to the US market but has always determined that there wasn't enough of a market here to justify certifying it and the strong Euro wouldn't allow them to sell it under $26,000. Now as gas prices hover around $3.50 a gallon, Stuttgart is taking another look at bringing the next gen B-Class here in 2011. The current B-Class is about 10 inches shorter than a C-Class at 168 inches long. The Germans are also considering a smaller SUV below the ML class, presumably to compete with the Land Rover LR2.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]
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