Mercedes’ expansion into front-wheel drive territory and smaller segments will not result in cars smaller than the A-Class, at least for the medium term. This is what Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche said, responding to rumors about Mercedes-Benz planning to fill up the gap between the A-Class and the upcoming Smart ForFour.
As the ForFour will reportedly be less than 3,500mm (137.8in) long, it would leave space for an intermediary model between it and the A-Class, which measures 4,292mm (168.9in) in length. However, Mercedes-Benz doesn’t plan to take that route.
“It’s clear that there’s an opportunity for a supermini. Such a car would offer plenty of volume for us, but it would also be tough to make profit from,” Zetsche told Autocar magazine at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “For now, I don’t see a need for us to go that way, but further down the line, it’s a possibility,” the CEO added.
It remains to be seen whether a future Daimler supermini will be built under the Mercedes-Benz brand (as Audi chose to do it with the A1) or the Smart brand, following the example of BMW and the Mini.
However, before that model becomes a reality, Zetsche said Mercedes’ MFA FWD platform would spawn a fifth model, following the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA. Although he didn’t specify the type of vehicle, many reports point to a CLA Shooting Brake.
With BMW preparing for the launch of its all-new, third-generation Mini hatchback and with Audi’s A1 enjoying good sales, Mercedes may want to reconsider its strategy sooner than many may expect.
By Dan Mihalascu