Dubbed the Vision SLA, the Mercedes-Benz compact roadster which debuted at Detroit was described by D/C as a 'pure concept car.' The company has 'no plans whatsoever to build it,' a company spokesman said.
But a manager close to the project acknowledged DaimlerChrysler could built it - possibly with an outside contractor such as German assembler Wilhelm Karmann GmbH. Another possible production site would be DaimlerChrysler's plant in Brazil that builds the Mercedes-Benz A-class, the manager said.
'It all depends on public reaction,' the manager said. 'But so far, every Mercedes-Benz show car bearing a `Vision' name has made it into series production.'
The SLA features the 1.9-liter engine and axle systems from the A-class. But its most striking features are visual. The body is made of a combination of plastic and aluminum, with aluminum panels on the doors.
The concept's hood is arrow-shaped. Two screen-like panels allow a glimpse of the engine beneath.
'You can look at the other convertibles that we have, the SLK and the CLK, and those are at the high end of the scale,' said Peter Pfeiffer, DaimlerChrysler chief of design. 'Our idea was to create something at the more basic end of the scale.'
Pfeiffer said that his design team began the Vision SLA project about six months ago.
The Vision SLR, a sports car unveiled last year in Detroit, is being developed for series production at McLaren, Mercedes' racing partner in Woking, England.
The A-class is built in Rastatt, Germany, but the DaimlerChrysler manager said capacity would have to be expanded to handle the Vision SLA.
SLA would be priced at about DM40,000 (euro 22,500) - between D/C's Smart roadster and the Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster, according to the company source.