Mercedes-Benz is hoping that new variants of their small C-Class sedan will spearhead a 30% increase in sales over the next five years. The blitz will begin with a C-Class coupe that will go on sale next year, as well as a new C-Class in 2013, followed by a C-Class based convertible shortly after. Mercedes will also launch three vehicles based on the B-Class, a small front drive car sold in Canada and Europe. The B-Class cars will take the form of a coupe, crossover and sedan when they hit the United States in 2012.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb told Automotive News that the small car segment is where Mercedes is lacking product. “Everybody wants to be Mercedes-Benz he said. “They are after us in the S- and E-class segment. With C class, we’re sitting with a four-door sedan and not doing anything else. Now we will go into segments where [competitors] are strong.”
Lieb is hoping to repeat the mistake made by rival car maker BMW, who priced their 1-Series compact coupes to closely to their volume 3-Series model. BMW has only sold 3,648 1-Series through April, but Lieb said that Mercedes needs to sell 15,000 cars to make a viable business case for the product. “We will always have a price premium,” he said, “but we can’t have a premium like in the S class.”
[Source: Automotive News]