Mercedes' pint-sized A-class hatch, the premium brand's first front-wheel-drive model, could be a thing of the past if news from Germany's WirtschaftsWoche proves to be true. The business weekly reports that DaimlerChrysler is planning to drop the A-class after the current model reaches the end of its lifecycle in 2011. The only word from Mercedes is that it's purely speculation and that the A-class hasn't been a failure, managing to find the homes of more than 1.5 million buyers since its introduction in 1997.

Focus now seems to be on the new B-class, which is also due for replacement in 2011. Back in May, Mercedes' US Chief Ernst Lieb told reporters that the next-gen B-class was under consideration for US importation. The new model's underpinnings will likely be shared with the recently revealed C-class to improve quality levels and exploit economies of scale. It would also mean the next B-class would feature a RWD chassis and more powerful engine options. The only problem for Mercedes now is whether or not it could market a car in the US positioned below the C-class and still remain profitable.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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