Mercedes-Benz A-Class may not be dead yet – report

Contrary to earlier reports, a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class may still be in the works – though likely with electric power.

The current Mercedes-Benz A-Class may not be the last.

Contrary to earlier reports that cast doubt on the future of Mercedes’ most affordable model, a senior Mercedes-Benz executive has told a UK media outlet that the German automotive giant does not plan to vacate the small-car class.

A report from a German newspaper Handelsblatt in late June claimed Mercedes-Benz does not plan to develop successors to the current A-Class hatch and sedan, and B-Class ‘MPV’ (multi-purpose vehicle), in a move that would see the company trim its small-car range and focus on more profitable models.

However, doubt has now been cast on that report, after recent comments made to a UK publication Auto Express by Holger Enzmann, project manager for the EVA2 platform underpinning Mercedes-Benz’s largest electric cars.

“We have talked about the A-Class and we’re looking at it [a replacement]. It won’t feature on EVA2 as that is for larger vehicles, but you can be sure we’ll see a vehicle in this segment.”

Mr Enzmann’s comments appear to dispel rumors of the A-Class range’s axing, which under the plan reported by Handelsblattwould see Mercedes-Benz offer four “compact cars”: the CLA sedan, CLA Shooting Brake wagon, GLA small SUV, and GLB medium SUV.

Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this year that it would cut its compact car model range from seven to four models – but at the time did not confirm which models would be dropped.

However, Enzmann’s reference to “a vehicle in this segment” may simply refer to any hatchback-styled small car – a role which could be filled by the CLA Shooting Brake, which blurs the line between hatchback, wagon and liftback.

Sales figures published by Handelsblatt show about 184,000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchbacks and sedans were sold in Europe, the US and China last year – compared to 73,000 CLA sedans and Shooting Brake wagons, and 33,000 B-Class hatchbacks.

The A-Class range’s sales nearly approaches that of the GLA and GLB SUVs combined – despite consumer preferences increasingly shifting towards SUVs, and that the A-Class hatch is sold primarily in Europe.

Whether or not a new A-Class is developed, all of Mercedes-Benz’s future compact cars are expected to sit on a new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture, designed primarily for electric cars, although traditional petrol engines and hybrid systems are still supported.

Dubbed “Entry Luxury” cars by their maker, Mercedes’ next small cars are slated to offer classier, more upmarket styling, and a new MB.OS operating system designed to power all vehicle systems, from infotainment to autonomous driving.

Expect to hear more details on the future of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the coming months and years, as the end of the current model’s run – due around 2024, when it will be eight years old – approaches.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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