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

The market for luxury cars is slipping, and stalwarts like Mercedes-Benz are not immune. The German automaker's current projections indicate that overall sales will drop by about 10% for 2008, and '09 isn't shaping up to be any better. On the other hand, one of the few bright spots in the U.S. auto market has been the sales of small cars, which have at least sustained level sales and in some cases increased tremendously. While Daimler has no basis for comparison since 2008 was the first year that the fortwo was sold here, sales of the smart brand have greatly outpaced the automaker's projections.

The success of small but premium cars has prompted MB USA to take another look at its A-Class and B-Class cars. This compact duo are sold in other countries, but have been deemed too diminutive to be widely accepted here in the States. That all may change in 2012. By then, Daimler will have had a chance to rework the two cars for the American market, bringing them more in line with the brand's U.S. aspirations, and that's a good thing since the big concern would be whether the two models would devalue the three-pointed star in the fickle eyes of us Americans.

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