The CLA was one of the hottest new cars of last year. Mercedes even called it the company's best launch in 20 years, but it sees as if that early sales performance has not been sustainable. According to Bloomberg, the CLA has seen its sales drop year-over-year in seven of the last eight months, and the new A3 came at just the right time to fill that void.
In June, Mercedes shifted 1,658 CLAs in the US, compared to 2,452 for the A3. The Merc has sold more units so far this year but only because the Audi sedan has only been on sale for three full months. With the two cars being relatively comparable as compact, front-wheel-drive, German luxury sedans, it appears buyers prefer the Four Rings over the Mercedes star, so far at least.
The A3's popularity might be partially generational. According to Bloomberg, citing research from Autotrader, Millennials consider Audi as the brand that best reflects their personality, while Mercedes is ranked third. Audi doesn't want to allow its good image with young buyers to slide either, so it's marketing to them heavily with the sedan with events like targeted launch parties. It appears to be working, too. A company spokesperson recently told Autoblog that a little over 25 percent of the sedan's customers were 30-years-old or younger, compared to about 18 percent for the A4. The idea is that if the company can grab consumers early, then they may keep coming back later in life.