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B-CLASS BENZ COULD HIT U.S. MARKET
A new Mercedes-Benz B-class small car could enter the U.S. market as early as 2011, according to a recent AutoWeek article. The automaker said that if they were to bring the B-class here, it would be the next generation model due in 2011. The article also noted that Mercedes may bring an SUV smaller that the M-class to the United States as well.
Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, commented that with rising gas prices and a move to smaller passenger cars, the B-class could have potential in the U.S. market. However, the article notes that a decision isn't likely to be made anytime soon because the automaker plans to focus on the next- generation C-class that will hit dealerships this summer. Lieb says that Mercedes is still determining whether its buyers are truly interested in the B-class.
"Today when I talk to customers, I really wonder if they are ready for a small car," he said. "Younger customers who have been in Europe and driven the car as a rental car are very open to it. The more traditional Mercedes customer is a little hesitant."
Mercedes planned on bringing the B-class to the United States in 2006, but discontinued its plans due to unfavorable currency exchange rates. The car would have been priced under $26,000, and the current model (shown in the picture above) that is now on sale in Europe is 10 inches shorter than the C-class sedan. Lieb also said that their plan to bring in a small SUV depends on whether the company can competitively price it for the U.S. market.
Source: Kurkylko, Diana. (May 21, 2007). "Baby Benz: Mercedes Considers Bringing B Class to United States" AutoWeek. Retrieved May 23, 2007 from www.autoweek.com.