Mercedes offers sales incentives to boost new A class
FRANKFURT -- Mercedes-Benz is offering incentives on its new A class in Germany in a bid to lure customers away from rivals BMW and Audi.
Mercedes will offer a starter package that gives a 535-euro ($669) discount to private buyers and a fleet package with a 445-euro discount, dealer sources told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Mass-market automakers often offer incentives on their new models but such a move is unusual for a premium maker.
The A class premium compact car will arrive in European showrooms in September and will launch in China next year. It will go on sale in the United States in 2014.
''Use this new product in particular to attract BMW 1 series customers,'' Mercedes' German sales organization told dealers in internal documents seen by Automobilwoche.
The A class will be a key model for Mercedes in its bid to retake the luxury-car lead from BMW, as well as fight off tougher competition from Audi. The hatchback will target BMW 1 series and Audi A3 customers, but also potential buyers of the new VW Golf, which launches in November, dealer sources said.
''We are calculating that more than half of A-class customers will move from other brands to us,'' said Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes head of sales and marketing.
A-class sales fell 17.6 percent last year to 87,920 in Europe, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics. BMW 1 series sales were down 8.9 percent to 106,923, while Audi A3 sales dropped 17.7 percent to 137,253.
Henning Krogh of Automobilwoche contributed to this report
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