Samantha Stevens | Oct 19, 2012

Mercedes-Benz has just thrown the first punch in its A-Class derived onslaught at the Australian International Motor Show.

Sliding into 2013 on the same shirt-tails as the A-Class is the new B-Class, CLA, and GLA, along with the E 300 Hybrid and Mercedes Benz’ first small van, the Citan.

That original affordable Benz, the A-Class, is now more ‘a conquest car’ than ever.

At $35,600, the entry-level A-Class hatch is priced cheaper than a Holden Commodore and at the mid-point of the VW Golf range.

And, in top-shelf AMG form, will rival the best from VW and BMW while sprinting faster than a C 63.

According to Mercedes-Benz’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, David McCarthy, the main problem for Benz will not be its heady competition in the segment, but how much of this appealing pointy-priced product they can actually get.

Early in 2012, Mercedes Oz found itself hamstrung by supply issues, unable to meet demand for M-Class and B-Class models.

The same is expected when the A 180, A 200, A 200CDI and A 250 Sport models arrive next March.

While McCarthy would not be drawn on actual figures, he conceded demand for the hatch will likely outweigh supply by “about 30 percent”.

Mercedes-Benz Australia PR boss David McCarthy
Mercedes-Benz Australia PR boss David McCarthy

“I think the segment will expand, and we want our share of it - and we have a compelling product,” McCarthy said.

“An A-Class at under $35,600 - and it’s not a stripper, it’s loaded with kit – will see the game change a bit. We are known for brand values of prestige, luxury, safety and styling, and, over the past six years or so, value.

He added that punters have "made a big deal" about the A-Class taking on the Golf in price, "particularly as 50 percent of Golfs sold are over $35,000".

“But we are only two percent market share here. We aren’t exactly going to get our hands on 30,000 A-Classes.

“We think the A 250 Sport against GTI is going to be a good thing, because feature-for-feature we are better value. But the king hit is going to be the A 45.


A45 AMG confirmed For Australia

2013 mercedes benz a class amg a 25 amg spy photos 01

Confirmed for Australia and in decent numbers, the A 45 AMG model will top the range with a more worked version of the A 250 Sport’s 2.0-litre turbo.

This should see around 250kW and at least 400Nm put to the ground via all four paws.

Pitted against the likes of the Golf R, Audi S3 and the BMW m135i, McCarthy says the features, interior and brand cachet will even draw in the Evo and STI crowd.

“It will be cheaper than the 1 Series,” McCarthy promises, “and it will lure some people from the likes of the Evo; you get a Mercedes interior, exterior, loads of features, and in a car that is faster to 100km/h than a C 63.”

This makes it a sub-five second car, and under $76,000.



McCarthy also confirmed the A-Class based GLA mini-SUV, for the Australian market, along with the CLA compact four-door coupe.

“We are definitely getting the GLA late next year,” he stated.

“And the CLA is beautiful; I’ve seen it in the flesh and it’s gorgeous. Beautiful proportions, and it will be very affordable, at a sub-$50K price.

“There are another two cars still to come from that platform,” he hinted further.


Renault Alliance: Mercedes-Benz Citan

Benz will also be entering another VW-heavy segment with its first foray into small vans.

The Kangoo-based Citan, the first product of MB’s alliance with Renault/Nissan, will debut next year with Caddy-rivalling drivetrains and spec.

“We will get the Citan in short and long-wheelbased models, with a petrol and diesel… like the Caddy,” McCarthy said.

“It’s the start of a lot of cooperation between Daimler and Renault/Nissan.”

Part of that cooperation includes the sharing of platforms with Infiniti, and also shared ventures with the Smart ForTwo and ForFour.

“Those types of cooperations only work when there is product you can leverage off. Passenger cars is where it is going to happen,” he said.

And the rumoured SLA ‘TT-rival’?

McCarthy would not be drawn on the recurring idea that is the SLA: a short-wheelbased front-drive convertible to rival the likes of the Audi TT, shown as a concept in Detroit back in 2000.

He said that nothing like the SLA would be appearing “in 2013," but admitted that the idea of this type of vehicle “would be interesting”.

McCarthy did confirm one more rumour: the E300 Hybrid, which should arrive with the new facelifted E-Class range at the end of the first quarter next year.

“Yes, there’s a strong business case for (the E300),” he confirmed.

“It won’t be $20K more than the E250, but the price premium will be for equipment as well as the hybrid technology.

“It’s pretty hard to make a strong business case for the Hybrid when the standard car is so economical – in some cases only a litre-per-kilometre.

“The gap is narrowing rapidly between the petrol engine and the hybrid. But yes, we will get the car,” McCarthy said.

“It’s going to be a very interesting year for Mercedes-Benz.”


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