Coming to America: Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class

By Joel Arellano | September 15, 2011
If you're a typical American, you've probably never heard of the A and B-Class vehicles by Mercedes-Benz. That's not surprising since the diminutive cars are sold exclusively overseas especially in Europe. Well, that's about to change. For months, Mercedes has been teasing the autosphere with snippets of information and images of its 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class, which it calls a crossover, but we'll call a hatchback. Finally, Mercedes debuted the B-Class at the Frankfurt Motor Show to the press. But today Mercedes' owner Daimler AG also confirmed the long-hinted rumor that it will not only sell the 2012 B-Class here in the states but will bring the even smaller A-Class across the pond as well. We've known Mercedes has been planning to bring both brands over since 2008 but were unsure of the details. Built upon the automaker's new Mercedes Front Architecture, or MFA, the automaker now says it plans to start selling at least one of the five A and B-Class variants here around 2013, though it's mum about which vehicle will go on sale first. Daimler is also quiet on U.S. pricing details (no surprise); the 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class sedan is priced for around $35,000 in Europe.
The U.S. models will most likely be powered by either a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter engine, possibly even supercharged according to Joerg Prigl, vice president for Mercedes-Benz and Smart front-wheel and electric vehicles. Sorry, diesel fans, but none of the diesel engines for the European-spec models will be brought over. Same with the Mercedes-Benz E-Cell Plus plug-in hybrid concept which also debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Mercedes admits it's bringing the A and B-Class vehicles to the U.S. market to help it meet the new, more rigorous fuel-economy standards. Rivals such as Audi, BMW, and Lexus plan to off subcompacts in the near future as well for similar reasons. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)