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Mercedes-Benz introducing compact B-Class to attract younger drivers

Mercedes-Benz is moving towards a future of manufacturing some smaller, compact cars in Germany and bringing them to the United States. This will be the first time the luxury car maker has thought small – in size of car that is – not in quality or luxury.
Posted: September 14, 2011 - 1:20PM
Author: KC Kelly


Mercedes-Benz believes that their new smaller cars will “become a cornerstone for future sales gains”. Only time will tell if consumers will go for a compact Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

For the first time in the history of Mercedes-Benz, a smaller B-Class Mercedes was shown off at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The unveiling was on Tuesday, when the head of development at Mercedes, Thomas Weber, introduced the new automobile. The Mercedes B-Class has been described as “revamped, retooled and sleek”.

Mercedes-Benz is attempting to target the younger demographic with the new B-Class car. Since the average age of the Mercedes-Benz driver in the United States is 53 years older than both BMW and Audi, according to researcher J.D. Power and Associates, Mercedes wants to change the perception that the brand is for older drivers, but make the brand more youthful. This is in hopes of increasing the age demographic; hence, increasing sales.

The Mercedes B-Class will be hitting European showrooms this fall and they are hoping for good results in sales. Prior, the current A and B classes have been called “boxy designs” and sales and profits were low. In addition, these cars were not bringing in the younger car buyer. With the new compact B-Class, Mercedes hopes to change the perception of the Mercedes altogether as an older generation drivers’ car into a hipper car for the younger generation.

In bringing in the younger generation into the Mercedes family by enticing them with the smaller compact B-Class car, the brand hopes to make life long customers out of the younger drivers. After driving the B-Class, Mercedes hopes that these drivers will trade up to other more expensive models of the Mercedes.

As smaller cars are becoming more popular because they save gas and meet tougher emission standards coming in Europe and the United States, smaller cars have other great benefits as well. Tim Urquhart, an analyst at researcher IHS Automotive in London stated, "Without small cars it becomes very tough, especially for the German luxury makers whose bigger, high-octane car sales drive up their fleet-average emissions.”

Mercedes-Benz is planning on producing a sportier version of its A-Class hatchback next year, followed by a small coupe, a compact sport-utility vehicle and another compact model. The first small Mercedes car is expected to be sold in the United States by 2013; possibly the B Class, Mercedes. Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz stated, "Our U.S. dealers tell us the time is ripe. The new A- and B-class will definitely be profitable.”