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Mercedes-Benz U.S. Boss Expects GLA to Be Even More Successful than CLA

Mercedes’ front-wheel drive compact range will grow this year with the GLA crossover, which is tipped to become an even bigger success than the CLA sedan.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon said dealers should probably count on GLA shortages after the crossover debuts in the U.S. this fall – something that is happening now with the CLA. The compact sedan debuted in September 2013 in the U.S. and sold faster than Mercedes expected, leading to tight inventories. As for the GLA, Cannon said waiting lists could be even longer.

“Dealers feel there is a lot more potential in that car. It could be hotter – the feedback is phenomenal,” Cannon told Automotive News. The executive added that he expects the GLA’s conquest rate to be higher than the GLK’s 60 percent rate when it debuted in 2009.

Mercedes-Benz has not announced U.S. pricing for the GLA, but the crossover is expected to be more expensive than the CLA, but several thousand dollars less than the GLK, which starts at $38,405, including shipping. The CLA is priced from $30,825, including shipping.

The GLA will launch in the U.S. with all-wheel drive and will be offered later on with front-wheel drive as well.

Mercedes’ FWD range of vehicles, which includes the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA, is in high demand, with Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche admitting the company is looking for ways to increase production. The carmaker is likely to add a third shift at its plant in Hungary that builds the CLA.

By Dan Mihalascu

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