Mercedes-Benz will build a fifth variant off its future A- and B-class compact-car platform. The model will be a so-called "shooting brake," company sources said, adding that the low-slung sporty station wagon will start arriving at European dealerships in 2014. The car will most likely be called the CLC Shooting Brake, the sources said. They said an announcement is due soon.
A company spokesperson declined to comment on the company's future product plans.
The second-generation A- and B-class models will be underpinned by a new platform called MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture). Mercedes' current two-car compact lineup will more than double in the future to also include the successors to the current B class -- due before the end of this year -- and the replacement for the A class, which will arrive next year. In addition, Mercedes, in 2013, will launch an A-class coupe, which will be called CLC and compete against the BMW 1-series coupe. A year later an SUV, which is likely to be called the GLC, should arrive at dealers and compete against the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
With the MFA architecture, Daimler's mid-term goal is to double sales of its entry-level compact models to an average of 400,000 units a year, the sources said.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche did not want to confirm that figure in a recent interview with Automotive News Europe. Said Zetsche: "We are striving for a considerable increase in volumes. That's why we have made investments in the Kecskemet (Hungary) plant, in addition to our compact-class factory in Rastatt (Germany). The Kecskemet facility will have a capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year. In the past, we sold 270,000 A- and B-class units at our peak. Time will tell where we will be with the full availability of all our models."