Mercedes is planning to replace its two smallest models with conventional FWD hatchbacks
11 June 2008

Mercedes will replace its two smallest models with more conventional front-wheel-drive hatchbacks, company sources have revealed. The new models will be joined by a three-door coupé, a cabrio, a 4x4 and an MPV."We want to expand the line-ups to at least double that of today's levels," said Rainer Schmueckle, Mercedes-Benz chief executive officer. Also under consideration is a four-door saloon, of similar size to the original 190.The decision to continue with front-wheel drive comes after a lengthy internal review. The new layout, called MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture), has been conceived to support a much wider range of models and allows for four-wheel drive, paving the way for high-performance variants.Mercedes has abandoned the complex, expensive sandwich construction that provides today's models with a flat floor. It has been replaced by a simpler, cheaper arrangement that will allow the next generation of vehicles to sit nearer to the ground.The company is also designing a new range of engines. They will work with other models, unlike the engines in the existing A and B-class, which were conceived for underfloor mounting and have a unique design.More significant, perhaps, is the Mercedes plan to equip the next entry-level models with the option of hybrid drive. Features such as start-stop and brake energy regeneration are also "definitely part of the new package", said Mercedes sources.

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Comments
5

11 June 2008

The problem with introducing a revolutionary type of car that changes the game is that it takes time for people to fully understand its advantages. The A-Class was just such a car. But Mercedes-Benz seems to be abandoning the concept just at the point when everyone has at last begun to appreciate what an ideal solution it is. We all remember the first model's Elk test issues and concrete ride comfort, but the 2nd version is really very good indeed. The A-Class combines superb interior packaging, practicality and economy. With the rising cost of oil and inner city congestion, cars like the A-Class are the future not the past. Whatever comes next, it must combine the same clever use of space with even better economy. It will fail miserably if it is just another Golf clone.

11 June 2008

[quote Autocar]Mercedes will replace its two smallest models with more conventional front-wheel-drive hatchbacks, company sources have revealed. The new models will be joined by a three-door coupé, a cabrio, a 4x4 and an MPV.
"We want to expand the line-ups to at least double that of today's levels," said Rainer Schmueckle, Mercedes-Benz chief executive officer. Also under consideration is a four-door saloon, of similar size to the original 190.
The decision to continue with front-wheel drive comes after...Read the full article[/quote]

Isn't that precisely what they were going to do with Smart a couple of years ago before pulling the plug? I thought the Smart brand was perfect for MB to take forward as an FWD brand that would major on efficiency and design. If they'd have put a bit more into marketing the brand properly I think it would have paid off. The timing would have been perfect. Now they're doing it all from scratch with the Mercedes brand anyway? Hhhhm.

12 June 2008

Strange that MB has decided to ditch the sandwich floor,the need for space for batteries in hybrid or full electric models is why it was designed this way in the first place.

18 June 2008

We owned a first gen A Class and it was a bloody awful thing but the fault was Merc's then-determination to decontent their cars, resulting in something that was relatively expensive but felt pretty cheap. The basic engineering concept worked fine. Can't help but feel that it is an idea whose time is about to come. A bit like the Audi A2 which now seems to be in pretty high demand on the used market and was probably taken out of production a bit hastily, with the benefit of hindsight.

19 June 2008

In my oppinion, it was a mistake in the first place for Mercedes to enter the market with the A-class, here in Germany the rumors in the press are saying, Mercedes hasn´t earned a dime with the A and B class. But the costumers actually like the concept event though all other companies offer about the same type of car, I mean with the high seating position, older costumers especially find that very appealing. What this has done, that loyal costumers of Mercedes because of the high seating chose an A or B-class instead of the regular cars like the C-class. I don´t think the A or B-class has attracted that many new customers to the brand, they just cannabilized their own cars. And now Mercedes is taking the A-class to be a rival of the BMW 1 series, leaving pretty many of the owners of an A-class out in the rain, now they won´t find a car in the lineup of Mercedes with the high seating position, plus older people tend to look for a car that is smaller than their previous cars, a trend wich will continue because of high gas prices, but the A-class also offered good space in a relatively small package, that won´t be offered by a 1 series competitor. Mercedes is still doing a whole lot wrong, I´m a bit worried about their future, it seems they really don´t know what to do with their costumors.

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