Mercedes works on new entry-level model; Asks U.S. consumers to help
Mercedes doesn’t have a clear picture of where it wants to go next so they have decided to leave it in the hands of the U.S. consumers. Well, not solely in the hands of the U.S. consumers, but they are setting up focus groups that are offering their opinions on which step Mercedes should take to ensure a successful entry-level vehicle.
Consumers in these focus groups have 3 models to choose from: a crossover, a sporty coupe, and a sedan. Mercedes even offers them full-sized clay models to better formulate their opinions. No final decisions have been made by Mercedes, but U.S. dealerships have made it absolutely clear that they do not want to see a hatchback. Not being hatchback fans ourselves, the decision to not go hatchback is one we fully support.
The new entry-level models will be based on the redesigned, front-drive B-class platform and would be positioned below the C-Class. Mercedes has not yet decided whether it will be pegged under the B-Class name or allow for a different label. Sales are expected to begin after 2011.
In an interview with Automotive News, Bernhard Glaser, general manager of product development at Mercedes-Benz USA said: "The first clinics have been done in the U.S. market. We are still at a very early stage. The design freeze has not taken place."
"They were concerned about the previous generation because it did stand out, and that is kind of a whole different brand sell that you have to try and jump over. This will be seamless."
Source: Automotive News