Mike Stevens | Jul 17, 2012

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will produce a high-riding compact SUV built on the versatile MFA platform that underpins its new A-Class hatch.

The new model will expand the Mercedes-Benz' range in the hugely popular SUV market, entering beneath the midsized GLK, which is not currently offered in Australia.

Just as the A-Class is a rival to BMW's 1 Series and Audi's A3, the new crossover will take on the strong-selling X1 and Q3 compact SUVs.

The news was announced at the carmaker's Rastatt plant in Germany, where the new crossover will be produced alongside the A-Class and the new B-Class, already on sale in Australia.

"This start of production marks a further milestone in our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy. The A-Class represents our offensive in the compact segment," Mercedes boss Dieter Zetche said.

"And there is more to come: The compact SUV will be the third model we will build here in Rastatt."

Reports out of Europe suggest the new model will be named GLA, in-line with the carmaker's revised naming strategy - the GL representing its status as an SUV, and the A signifying its small-car proportions.

Launch timing for the new compact SUV has not been revealed, although we can likely expect a glimpse of the new model in the coming year.

The new A-Class range, including the high-performance A 45 AMG, is expected to reach Australia early in 2013.

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