More Benzes for the masses.
Speaking at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, head of Mercedes-Benz cars Dr. Dieter Zetsche announced his intentions to expand the existing five-car family of Mercedes-Benz compact cars to a total of eight cars by 2018. Expansion of the compact-car portfolio likely has something to do with the sheer popularity of their compact cars and their intent of holding on to their ‘No. 1 Premium Brand’ crown (which they earned in 2016, after the title spent years with BMW).
Dr. Z, as he is sometimes known, said that Mercedes-Benz would be adding three more vehicles to its compact range, which is likely to begin with the A-Class sedan, targeted at the customers left out by the stylish-but-cramped CLA-Class and the bootless A-Class hatch. The new A-Class sedan will be built on the marque’s new MFA2 platform, which differs from the existing compact cars that are built on MFA1. After the A-Class sedan, a GLB-Class SUV seems likely, doing to the GLA-Class what the B-Class has always done to the A-Class, which is offer a little more practicality and space. The GLB-Class is expected to be offered with seven seats, making it a more practical proposition than BMW’s X1.
Thus far, there’s little to allude to what the third model will be. And while there are plenty of commentators and spectators saying a million things, our friends at CarAdvice say that what the third model won’t be is a three-door or convertible SUV. The demand for such a car is so niche, that a business case is difficult to justify. We’re just glad that Mercedes-Benz has eschewed the idea because those cars are hideous (hint hint, Land Rover).
AMG will have a lot of work ahead of it, too: With the sheer sales success of AMG-badged cars, the expansion of the compact lineup will likely herald the introduction of more performance-oriented models, which will help the bespoke-performance outfit expand its marketshare. “As you know,” said AMG boss Tobias Moers, “we don’t have the AMG performance models in today’s MFA generation. There are opportunities for us. Expansion of that portfolio gives us other opportunities. It’s a lot more work.”
Industry commentators speculate that while full-bore AMG 45 variants will make an appearance, there will probably be an addition to the Mercedes-AMG portfolio with some smart rebranding of existing ‘Sport’ products, like the A250 Sport and the other related derivatives. There will also probably be AMG Performance cars to bolster its numbers too, with compact counterparts to variants like the C43, GLC43, and E43 AMG cars (inferior only to AMG 63 cars).
Mercedes-AMG, if it adds to its portfolio the way we speculate them to, will probably be in store for huge successes through the coming years, considering the strong, healthy demand the buying public has for sportier, sharper Mercedes-Benz models.