Click above for more shots of the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
The move to smaller cars in the United States will cover nearly all vehicle classes, even touching such luxury car stalwarts as Mercedes-Benz. Fortunately for MB, the automaker already has a few small vehicles which it can consider selling in the States, and new rumors indicate that the automaker could be considering launching its A-Class subcompact and B-Class compact cars here. Buyers who associate the three-pointed star with luxury alone may be surprised by the A-Class, which is most certainly an economy car, albeit one of high quality. Interestingly, though, the B-Class was initially planned for the U.S. market but was dropped shortly before launch due to the poor Euro-to-Dollar ratio. That particular situation has only gotten worse, but the rising price of gasoline may prompt Mercedes-Benz to reconsider that decision anyway.
It would be pure speculation, but we wonder if Mercedes has some excess capacity at its SUV plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. If so, the automaker could retool the plant for the new small cars, a move which could alleviate some of the poor exchange rate issues. We'll cast our official vote for the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY that gets 52mpg (U.S.). In any case, don't expect to see the new models in the U.S. until 2011 or so.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]