Mercedes is thinking of bringing their small, B-Class car to the American market? There are many things to be considered with this potential move. In the United States, Mercedes-Benz’s product portfolio starts off with the C-Class sedan, and then goes up from there, topping out with the S-Class.
There have been rumors for quite a while now that one or both of Mercedes smaller offerings, the A-Class and the B-Class might be offered over here eventually. And now those rumors seem to be picking up some steam. With sources indicating that the B-Class will make it over, as well as a small SUV, presumably based on the B-Class platform, Mercedes buyers might soon have more to choose from.
The next version of its B-Class will be launched by Merc in Europe in 2011, and that’s the probable contender for adaptation to be sold here in the States. Not only will the upcoming B-Class have a slew of “normal” engines, but there are also persistent rumors that either an electric version or one powered by a hydrogen fuel cell will be in the offing. No, no word on if those will make it over here.
“The behavior of Americans depends on fuel prices. Nevertheless, we see a trend also toward fuel-efficient cars,” says Joachim Schmidt, sales and marketing chief at MB.
OK, so there’s that. But here are the questions that I see Mercedes facing with bringing this thing over here.
First: Will a small Mercedes play well with American’s market perceptions? Mercedes is a luxury brand, or at least that’s the way we think about them over here. Will bringing over a small car like the B-Class work? And just what kind of rid IS that anyway? Looks like a mini minivan. That could confuse things even more.
Second: Is this a CAFE standards dodge? Mercs have never been fuel efficient, and with CAFE standards going up, getting a B-Class over here is a way around that.
Third: Electric? Could they also be looking at this as a potential hybrid and/or EV platform? It would make sense.
Fourth: Back to question one again. In America, Mercedes = luxury. In Europe, sure, they have that, but Mercedes is also like GM, if GM was run by engineer rather than bean counters. MB makes everything from delivery trucks to SLS AMGs. So in the home market, something like the B-Class is no surprise and they can sell them.