Is anyone really surprised that Mercedes is filling even more niche gaps?
Those think that Mercedes’ ploy to delve into the bargain basement segment (for luxury cars, that is) with offerings like the GLA, CLA, A-Class, and B-Class was nothing more than an attempt to steal sales from your average run of the mill sedans and crossovers are exactly right. However, Mercedes isn’t using these cars to begin selling lower down the line. Instead it’s using them as a lure to entice buyers to start small and work their way up to the big boy Mercedes. According to Ward’s Auto, the plan has worked well so far. Too well in fact.
Now that Mercedes has sold a substantial amount of entry-level cars, it wants to expand on its operation and bring additional variants into the picture. Currently the automaker builds five entry-level vehicles including the above mentioned models and the CLA Shooting Brake, sold outside of the US. Speaking at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told the audience that Mercedes will unveil three more entry-level models by 2020. The idea behind the mini Mercs is that they bring in new customers to the brand. Much like tobacco brands marketed to kids using fruity flavors and chocolate shaped like cigarettes and wrapped as such, automakers try their best to attract young customers.
This is because these sorts of buyers tend to stay loyal as they grow older and their paychecks grow to sizes capable of buying bigger and better luxury vehicles. While it’s unclear what these models could be, it’s a safe bet to assume that one will be a four door sedan sold in standard wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions for China. Another model could be a mini CUV that will be positioned above the GLA and likely be named the GLB. Offered in standard wheelbase with five seats and long-wheelbase to accommodate seven, the GLB would do battle with cars like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. For the time being, Mercedes has revamped the GLA to ensure that the youngins keep buying.