Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 A class.

Like almost every automaker, Mercedes-Benz is feeling the pinch of high gas prices and an economic slow-down in the States. Daimler AG expects M-B's sales in the U.S. to fall in the second half of the year and in order to keep things in the black, vehicle prices in the U.S. are going to rise.

To counter the shift in demand from larger, thirstier vehicles to smaller, thriftier rides, Mercedes is reconsidering its previous decision not to offer its next generation compact and sub-compact vehicles in the U.S. Mercedes originally planned to bring the B class over, but the weak dollar caused the automaker to hold off. With the entrance of the 1-series, the forthcoming X1 and small crossovers from Audi on the way, Mercedes is looking to bring it front-wheel-drive A and B class vehicles to U.S. consumers that might be open to a compact vehicle from a luxury automaker.

The A class hatch was recently revealed and the B class got a facelift earlier this year, however, both models will have to undergo some revisions to be ready for sales in the U.S. With more derivatives on the way, including 230 hp, turbo'd two-liters and a B class possibly sharing the C's underpinnings (similar to the 1 series using the 3 series' platform), don't expect either model to hit U.S. shores before 2011.

Related Gallery2009 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Related Gallery2009 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]