Benz bets big on its smallest models.
Small cars have become big business for high-end automakers like Mercedes-Benz. And the Silver Star automaker intends to continue building on its success by rolling out new models at the short end of its lineup.
According to Autocar, Daimler has rolled out its product road map for the coming years, and it includes confirmation for the first time that the CLA will indeed yield a successor – two in fact: one to replace the four-door coupe, and another the five-door "shooting brake" wagon. And they ought to be positioned to further differentiate them from the new A-Class with which they'll share their compact platform.
Mercedes first revealed the current CLA-Class in 2013, carving out a new niche for itself that's since been filled by rivals like the Audi A3 sedan and Benz's own new A-Class sedan. The new model could grow a bit in size to stand out from the latter – though not so big as to threaten the larger C-Class. It could adopt an even more elegant shape as well, with a more steeply raked windshield and longer overhangs. The current CLA is one of the most aerodynamically efficient shapes on four wheels ever put into production, and the German automaker may seek to repeat that feat with the new model.
Whatever the form, the new CLAs will join the new A-Class hatchback, A-Class sedan, long-wheelbase (Chinese-market) A-Class sedan, and the new B-Class in Benz's entry-level lineup. A replacement for the GLA crossover is also due to be joined by a boxier new GLB as well, expanding the family to eight models.
Unfortunately earlier plans for an SLA roadster never came to fruition. But word has it that the new CLA could debut at CES in January, with the wagon version likely to appear at the Geneva show in March. As with the current model, though, don't expect the Shooting Brake to reach US showrooms.