Mercedes is busy rolling out the new A-Class. In fact it just started producing the hatchback at its factory in Hungary, in addition to the Rastatt plant where it’s already started rolling off the assembly line. That’s all well and fine, but what’s caught our attention is a discreet mention, buried deep in the press release.
“The new compact car family is to be expanded to a total of eight models,” says Mercedes. Which is particularly interesting, because it current includes five models.
In addition to the new A-Class hatchback, Mercedes offers the B-Class minivan, CLA four-door coupe, CLA Shooting Brake, and GLA crossover. The long-wheelbase A-Class sedan recently unveiled in Beijing makes it six. So what are the other two?
The German automaker may be counting a forthcoming standard-wheelbase version of the A-Class sedan as the seventh. In that case, the forthcoming GLB crossover could be counted as the eighth. That model is expected to adopt a boxier form than the GLA’s, emerging more as a smaller counterpart to the G-Class.
But the two wheelbase lengths of the A-Class sedan may be viewed as one model. And the CLA Shooting Brake may not be long for this world. In which case there’d be space for another one or two models in the lineup. An SLA roadster, perhaps? Or a two-door coupe? Maybe a slant-backed GLA coupe, like it’s done with the larger GLC and GLE crossovers? Or perhaps a more conventional wagon to replace the CLA Shooting Brake?
Only time will tell, but the statement ostensibly confirms what Gorden Wagener said a couple of months ago. At the launch of the new A-Class hatchback, Benz’s design chief told CarAdvice there’d be “at least eight” models in the compact lineup.
The new A-Class has replaced the B-Class on the assembly line in Kecskemét, Hungary. In addition to the Rastatt factory in Germany, the A-Class is also set to be produced by Valmet in Finland as well. All told, the hatchback will be assembled “in five plants on three continents.” So another two are slated to follow, and they won’t be in Europe. China might be a safe bet, as would the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. But previous iterations of the A-Class have also been produced in Brazil and in Thailand, so we suppose anything’s possible at this point.