Mercedes-Benz’s family of next-generation small cars won’t include an A-Class hatchback.
The company has teased its upcoming GLA and GLB crossovers and CLA Shooting Brake at the reveal of its next-gen CLA at the IAA Munich motor show, but a new-generation small hatch is conspicuously absent.
“[The] range will comprise a total of four new models – a four-door coupe, a shooting brake and two stunning SUVs – each with significantly elevated product substance,” said Mr Källenius in remarks reported by Carscoops.
Earlier this year the luxury car brand announced it would reduce its “Entry Luxury” offerings from seven cars down to four.
This latest announcement confirms reports the A-Class is on the chopping block at the end of its current lifecycle, with its future having been uncertain after Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius said “it’s not our goal to be a competitor of the volume producers.”
The B-Class was also rumoured to be facing the axe, and doesn’t feature in the brand’s plans moving forward.
Mercedes-Benz has already axed the A-Class in the United States, where it was offered only as a sedan and reportedly failed to meet sales targets. The slow-selling B-Class was also recently discontinued in Australia.
The A-Class, in contrast, is one of the best sellers in its segment and a strong seller in Europe.
It has a 15 per cent share of VFACTS’ small cars under $40,000 category, with 1551 sold to the end of July in Australia. That put it ahead of the BMW 1 Series (1149 sales) and narrowly behind the Audi A3 (1640) and Volkswagen Golf (1655).
The new four-vehicle line-up will be based on the Mercedes Modular Platform (MMA) which is built for electric powertrains but can support internal combustion engines as well.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it’ll reposition its Entry Luxury vehicles, “honing in more precisely on the wishes of discerning customers”.
It’s also aiming to record higher profit margins on those vehicles, as part of a broader push by the company to reach an operating margin target of around 14 per cent by the middle of the decade in favourable market conditions or eight per cent in “very unfavourable” conditions.
Mercedes-Benz revealed the Concept CLA Class with a single rear-mounted electric motor producing 175kW of power, mated to a two-speed transmission.
The CLA will offer the choice of two battery options including an entry-level lithium iron phosphate (LFP) unit, while combustion engines are also expected to be offered in the production vehicle.
According to the carmaker, the EV will offer an “anticipated” range of more than 750km based on WLTP testing and be more efficient than a Tesla Model 3 RWD.
It has a 800V electrical architecture which is claimed to add 400km of range in just 15 minutes of charging and provide vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities.
The inclusion of the CLA Shooting Brake in Mercedes-Benz’s next-gen small car line-up is surprising, considering it’s not sold in major markets like China or North America. It also hasn’t been offered in Australia since the first-generation model.