Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 A class
At various times over the past ten years, Mercedes-Benz has investigated the possibility of bringing its compact front wheel drive A- and B-class cars to the US market. The slightly larger B has been available north of the border in Canada for several years. Oddly enough, the fuel prices that have long been taxed to higher levels than in this country have stimulated demand for more efficient cars (imagine that!) and Mercedes has responded. Until now, though, neither car has been offered in the US because Daimler didn't feel it could sell them in high enough volumes to be profitable.
With the total car market in this country in decline right now, even the German luxury brands are looking at more affordable options to pull in customers. Mercedes is working to significantly reduce the production cost of the next generation of the A and B and those cars are being considered for the US in 2012 when they debut.