Massive corporate uplift from new Mercedes A-class
11 July 2012
The new Mercedes A-class
The business car market will take on a much more significant role for the new Mercedes A-class when the new lower medium hatchback launches late this year.
Mike Whittington, Mercedes-Benz UK sales director, told BusinessCar that the corporate market will be central to the car's volume growth potential, boosting its share of sales from less than 25% with the previous-generation car to a potential 40-50% with the new model, heading towards the levels achieved by rivals BMW and Audi with the 1-series and A3 respectively.
Although the new A-class will be slightly more expensive than its fellow lower medium premium hatchbacks, Whittington said the monthly rates will be attractive.
"We'll position the car wherever we need to be on competitive monthly payments. In that segment it's all about monthly payments," he said.
"We'll be very strong in fleet. We have an opportunity, and large commercial accounts and the contract hire and leasing sector are key to the A-class."
Whittington predicted a large-scale shift in buyer profile compared with the outgoing model.
"Existing and historic A- and B-class buyers are buying the new B-class, and the new A-class allows us to target a new age group nearer 30-35 that are not traditionally attracted to our brand, from both a fleet and retail perspective."
He also said the new A-class will help with both new and used cars, in terms of "getting people into the brand much earlier" than has previously been the case. "As their circumstances change, hopefully we'll walk them up further into the range.
"We used to rely on the CLC or C-class to capture interest," said Whittingham.
Within three or four years, the Mercedes small car range will grow to five vehicles, with the A- and B-class set to be joined by a coupe based on the Style Coupe concept revealed at this year's Shanghai motor show, as well as a small off-roader and one further model.
The new A-class, like all new Mercedes platforms, has been engineered to take alternative powertrains, but there's no word yet on a timescale for electric or hybrid models.
The firm has also ruled out the addition of a three-door model, despite both its core German rivals offering popular three-door alternatives on their competitor products.
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