On sale nationally from March 1, Mercedes-Benz also expects the A-Class to win a lot of conquest customers from other brands.
Currently, around 60 percent of A-Class pre-orders are from customers that are new to Mercedes-Benz. Of the remaining 40 percent, a number of them are previous C-Class owners.
Roughly 50 percent of pre-orders are for the A 250 Sport, and according to Robert Leigh, Project Manager for A, B and C-Class, the current order bank is for hundreds of vehicles - possibly over a thousand by the time the car officially goes on sale.
Importantly, the company's local arm is expecting no constraints on supply - at least initially.
“Supply is looking pretty good for this year, actually, so we’re confident we should be able to satisfy customer pre-orders,” said Mr. Leigh.
Jerry Stamoulis, Manager of Corporate Communications, added:
“We’re not communicating specific numbers, but we’re feeling a little bit better about our supply compared to last year.
“We’ve worked with the factory to get some volume off other markets, and so there will be a healthy supply over the next six months. But depending on demand [beyond that], that’s another story.”
While the A 250 Sport hot hatch is the most popular variant with pre-order customers, Mercedes-Benz Australia expects the A 200 petrol to become the volume seller in the long term.
The Mercedes and Lexus offerings are the only variants to offer an automatic transmission as standard, while the A 200, though slightly more expensive, offers more standard equipment than the CT 200h.
The A 180 undercuts all of its rivals by a significant margin, with a retail price of just $35,600.
Mercedes-Benz concedes that the new A-Class has the potential to steal some sales away from the C-Class, particularly as the current generation C-Class approaches the end of its lifespan.
“I think once we see CLA arrive, there might be some customers who may have considered a C-Class [move to CLA],” Mr Stamoulis said.
“The other issue we have is that C-Class is, over the next two years, being replaced. So as C-Class comes to the end of its life... we might see A and CLA combined overtake C-Class."
"But it’s hard to say when that could actually happen.”
However, the arrival of the A-Class is not expected to make much of a dent in B-Class volume.
“We can’t get enough of B-Class, right now,” Mr Stamoulis said. “We see them as different customers. The space that a B-Class offers, you can’t compare that to an A-Class.
“There is a substantial difference between the two.”
Later in the year, the A-Class line-up will expand from four cars to five, when the hi-po A 45 AMG joins the range in August.
With 265kW and 450Nm being produced by a turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol inline four and a sophisticated AWD drivetrain and AMG-designed front and rear suspension, the A 45 AMG promises to be the ultimate luxury hot hatch.
For now, Mercedes-Benz is staying quiet on how it will price the A 45. However, Mr Stamoulis confirmed that the price will be well under $100,000.
“We’re talking around the $80,000 mark [for A45],” Mr Stamoulis said.
- 2013 A 180 1.6 petrol - $35,600
- 2013 A 200 1.6 petrol - $40,900
- 2013 A 200 CDI 1.8 diesel - $40,900
- 2013 A 250 2.0 litre petrol - $49,900