Mercedes Says the CLA Is its Best U.S. Launch in 20 Years

If you didn’t know it already, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is a sales hit, especially in the United States, where the carmaker has warned dealers that it can’t keep up with demand. “This is our best launch in 20 years. The CLA has been a phenomenal success right out of the gate,” Mercedes-Benz USA boss Steve Cannon said in statement. Sales are going so well that the automaker told dealers in a December 9 letter that they should expect fewer CLAs in the first half of 2014, as the Keckskemét plant in Hungary is working at full capacity and output should support demand as early as July next year. Mercedes-Benz said it forecasts “tight inventories and low days supply” from February through June 2014 because of the car’s “overwhelming success” worldwide. The CLA has not only driven Mercedes sales up, increasing its lead over BMW in November, but it has also brought new customers to the brand, the letter said. The CLA is bringing a younger buyer to Mercedes, as the median age of the CLA customer is 46, compared to 54 for C-Class buyers and 57 for the brand overall. Cannon confirmed that dealers are seeing “a lot more floor traffic and many new faces” because of the Mercedes-Benz CLA. “The increase in our overall model sales indicates that this traffic is benefiting all Mercedes-Benz models,” the CEO was quoted as saying by Bloomberg News. Mercedes-Benz looks set to end the year as the No. 1 luxury automaker in the U.S., as its deliveries rose 14 percent in the first 11 months of this year and it holds a lead of 7,610 vehicles over archrival BMW.