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Old 02-10-2003, 08:45 PM
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Mercedes-Benz: A-Class News

By GREG KEENAN
00:00 GMT-05:00 Monday, February 10, 2003

TORONTO -- Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. will broaden its product range by selling A-class compact cars in Canada in 2005 and is determined to bring in the Smart micro-compact two-seater, president Ernst Lieb says.

But even as Mercedes-Benz prepares for the new products, Mr. Lieb is cleaning off his desk as he departs after a stretch of almost eight years as president and 17 years over all at Mercedes-Benz Canada. He becomes president and chief executive officer of DaimlerChrysler AG's Australia-Pacific group.

Managing the furious growth in sales, employees and the dealership network that has marked Mr. Lieb's reign in Canada falls to new president Markus Breitschwerdt, who leaves his post as director of marketing strategy for Mercedes in Germany to head up the Canadian operations starting April 1.

Mr. Breitschwerdt has another hat that will come in handy as the
arrival of A-class approaches because he's also head of product management for A-class and C-class vehicles.

Mr. Lieb thinks Mercedes can sell about 6,000 A-class compacts a year. That's almost half the 14,500 vehicles the company sold in Canada last year, which was its best year yet.

"It's going to be fantastic for our dealer network," he said.

The real splash, however, will come from Smart, a two-seater that -- for lack of a better description -- looks a bit like a golf cart with doors and a windshield. But this European city car has a 600cc engine that will generate speeds of up to 140 kilometres an hour and comes as a coupe, a convertible and, soon, a roadster.

"We're really pushing very hard to get this product here in two years," Mr. Lieb said.

The key roadblock, he said, is the cost of several technical
modifications that are necessary to meet Canadian standards and a decision about whether the number of vehicles that can be sold here will allow the auto maker to overcome those costs.

"It's always the same question," Mr. Lieb said. "How many can you sell?"

His preliminary estimate is that Canadians might buy 500 to 1,000 cars a year, when the Smart first goes on sale.

"I always thought Canada -- especially Toronto and Montreal -- is a lot more European than the U.S.," he added in explaining why Smart should succeed here. The price of gas in Canada is also closer to European prices than U.S. gas is.

Broadening the company's product range has been a successful strategy in recent years. Sales were just 4,000 units a year when Mr. Lieb started as president in 1995.

A wave of new products since then has been the key reason for the growth, he said, because there were no SLK roadsters or CLK class cars then and the M-class sport utility vehicle didn't arrive until the late 1990s.

"The M-class was the big, big push for us," he said. It's now the
company's second-biggest seller behind the C-class.

But Mr. Lieb doesn't regard the boost in sales, growth in employment at the company to about 750 people from 330 people, or even a more than doubling of revenue to $1.1-billion from $400-million seven years ago as his greatest accomplishment.

Instead, he's happiest about restructuring the Mercedes-Benz Canada dealership network.

In 1995, the auto maker had 57 or 58 dealerships, but fewer than 10 of those were exclusive. The rest shared space with Jaguar dealers, or Volvo outlets, or Subaru.

That has changed dramatically. Now just 10 are non-exclusive and the other 42 sell only Mercedes vehicles.

"We have owner-operators who know this business and live and breathe it every day," Mr. Lieb said.

He points to the company's new Mississauga outlet as an example of what new dealerships -- including several in the next two years -- will offer.

"You can walk into the shop and you can talk to the technician. If he's changing something, you can ask why. You can see him do it."

The growth in dealerships includes a new one in Toronto at the site of the company's current head office, whose distinctive mirrored facade has been a landmark on the east side of the city for years.

A new head office is being constructed behind the current building, which will then be renovated and turned into a dealership.

It will also serve as the site where purchasers of two of the company's elite new vehicles will see their cars for the first time later this year.

The handful of Canadians who have purchased the $300,000 (U.S.) Maybach limousine or the SLR sports car will be flown to Toronto when their cars are ready.
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Old 02-10-2003, 08:54 PM
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Any pics???...i think i remember seeing this thing and it was ass ugly.
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Old 02-10-2003, 09:06 PM
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Originally posted by Collective27
Any pics???...i think i remember seeing this thing and it was ass ugly.

This is the current A Class sold in Europe.

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Old 02-11-2003, 08:42 PM
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For an upscale Mr. Bean
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Old 02-12-2003, 06:22 PM
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Fugly...IMO
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Old 08-04-2003, 01:27 PM
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Mercedes' A-Class won't come to U.S. after all, execs say

By DIANA T. KURYLKO | Automotive News


Will it or won't it? The A-Class saga continues.
NEW YORK -- After years of touting its pending arrival, Mercedes-Benz executives said last week the ungainly-looking A-Class isn't coming to America after all.

The reason: too uncool for this side of the ocean.

In its place: a new small car spawned by the styling and content changes that Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and its dealers demanded for the A-Class, which was scheduled to arrive in 2005. The car, code-named CST, will arrive here in 2005 and will be sold worldwide as a standalone class.

The changes demanded by North America make the CST so different from the A-Class that product planners felt it needed to be its own model range, executives say.

"The A-Class is too conservative looking. We wanted an exterior that is more lively," says Peter Patrone, general manager and product manager for SUVs and touring cars at Mercedes-Benz USA in Montvale, N.J.

Although the CST will be built off the redesigned A-Class platform and use many A-Class components, it "will look more like a small sports tourer" - a smaller sister of the GST sport wagon that goes on sale here in 2005, Patrone says.

The redesigned A-Class goes on sale in Europe and other markets in August 2004 as a four-door hatchback.

The CST will use the A-Class sandwich floor design, which puts the fuel tank, running gear and spare tire under the floor. But Patrone says the car will have more powerful engines than the A class.

The top engine on the current A class is a 1.9-liter four-cylinder rated at 125 hp. An AMG-styled A210 Evolution version has a 2.1-liter, 140 hp engine.

Patrone says Mercedes will try to price the car between $20,000 and $30,000. It will be aimed at premium small cars such as the Mini, Toyota Matrix and BMW 1 series.

Volume will be lower than 50,000 units annually.

"It won't be a niche car, but we don't expect it to be a volume vehicle either," Patrone says. "We aren't going to shift the volume of the brand downwards."

Rick Bastin, president of Mercedes- Benz of Palm Beach (Fla.), says dealers are happy with the change but aren't certain how the CST will sell.

"We don't know how the market will accept it in relation to higher priced Mercedes-Benz models," Bastin says.

Mercedes-Benz executives have talked about bringing the A-Class to the United States since the day it was unveiled to the press in Brussels, Belgium, in 1997.

Juergen Hubbert, board member in charge of Mercedes-Benz operations worldwide, said at the Brussels debut that the car was being considered for the U.S. market. "We're looking at it month by month," he said.

In January 1999, Hubbert said the U.S. "definitely" would get the next-generation A class. The car would be bigger, "but there will be no change in the general concept," he said.

Last October, a Mercedes executive again said the A-Class would come to America, but that only the four-door model would be sold.

But at the Automobile News Europe Congress in June, Hans-Joachim Schoepf, Mercedes' head of product development, said in answering a question that the A class would not come to the United States.

Mercedes PR people moved quickly to smother the remark under a blizzard of denials.

The next day, Hubbert attributed Schoepf's comment to a misunderstanding, saying: "The A class definitely will come to the U.S."

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Old 08-04-2003, 01:28 PM
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I think that's the right decision. You cant compete with the MINI, the Beetle and others in this space with the A Class. You need the SMART for that.
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Old 08-04-2003, 01:43 PM
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This is what you need to go against the MINIs of the world:





The production SMART in Europe sells with a 3 cylinder 698 CC (yes hardly 0.7 liter) NA or turbo engine making a few dozen horses. This thing has been outfitted with 2 of these engines to make a V6 and 1.4 liters. But HP goes to 170HP which for the SMART's weight is...A LOT! 0-62mph in 5.8. So it's faster than a CLS 6MT.

Still a concept but Mercedes has shown 8 of them on a racetrack in Germany last week. They are serious about it. I think it will be a go and if it ever comes to our shores, it will go against the Elise. That would be a good thing.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:06 PM
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:16 AM
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There was a Brabus A-Class in the PS2 game 'The Getaway'.........

I was wondering what the hell it was.......
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:20 AM
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wow Mercedes has some pretty fugly cars now... a-class, g-class, and the ML

A-class... Scrunched up mini-van
G-class... looks like a box on wheels

ML.......... Fucked up cross b/w mini-van & mini-SUV
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:35 AM
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The front fender looks an awful lot like the one on the RX-8. :shakehd: It's sad when Mercedes-Benz starts imitating Mazda's designs.
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Old 06-24-2004, 03:14 PM
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your paying mostly for the name
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyV6


The front fender looks an awful lot like the one on the RX-8. :shakehd: It's sad when Mercedes-Benz starts imitating Mazda's designs.
1. I dont think this looks like Mazda at all.
2. This is not a production car
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:31 AM
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... wish it was a production car...
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:45 AM
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New Mercedes Benz A-class



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Old 06-25-2004, 09:46 AM
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Yummy
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:02 AM
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Hmmm...interesting...
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:03 AM
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Are they bringing it to the US?
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:05 AM
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Holds 4 Europeans, or 2 Americans
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:11 AM
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From cardesignnews.com

"Three petrol and three diesel engines will be available from launch to be soon followed by a top of the range 193bhp engine, and all models will be available with Mercedes-Benzís first CVT (constantly variable transmission)."

"it goes on sale at the end of Autumn."

No idea whether it will make it to US. It will make a good gift for my gf if I have that kinda money
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:16 AM
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No way it's coming here - you heard it here 1st! I'll sacrifice my mother-in-law to the car gods if I'm wrong.
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jcg878
No way it's coming here - you heard it here 1st! I'll sacrifice my mother-in-law to the car gods if I'm wrong.

Who wouldn't sacrifice their mother-in-law?
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:36 AM
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I'd take a Mini over that in a sec., 193hp does sound intriguing though. RWD? The 5 door looks like a Focus to me.
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:38 AM
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man for the class this car's in, thats one hell of an interior! looks better than the c coupe for sure in my opinion.
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:43 AM
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looks ok

nothing spectacular from the outside. the interior is top notch
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:45 AM
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:45 AM
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it has a hell of a lot of buttons... almost nearly that volvo ti-89 look :sqnteek:
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Old 06-25-2004, 12:44 PM
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I scoped out da A-Class rollin' herre in D-town bout year ago. I think they be thinkin' bout shippin' it herre... sooner probably befo' lata, since all them others from da Big E be sellin' them cheaper models.

Junksta, who thinks spittin' gansta is hard work
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Old 06-25-2004, 12:52 PM
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i saw a few of these while in paris, they dont look bad at all IMO
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Old 06-25-2004, 07:33 PM
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like the coupe.
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Old 06-26-2004, 02:14 AM
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The interior looks so good. Exterior - so so.
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Old 06-26-2004, 02:22 AM
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I even saw an AMG version around here.
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Old 06-26-2004, 09:39 AM
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Globally I like it, but I have somewhat a few doubts about the style of the headlights, but it can grow on me I guess.

jcg, sacrificing your mother-in-law to the car gods is honorable, but then you could also get sacrificed to lord-knows which gods in return, hahaha.
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Old 06-26-2004, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by biker
I even saw an AMG version around here.
I saw a Brabus version......it was in the PS2 game "The Getaway".


I had no clue what it was, but now I know
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Old 06-26-2004, 08:33 PM
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interior looks like a jetta or golf.
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Old 06-26-2004, 09:48 PM
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Interior looks like a 15k car, exterior looks like crap.
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Old 06-28-2004, 02:47 PM
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Yep, that's the new A class, the previous has been out for a couple of years now in Europe/Germany...they always try and stick me with one at the rental car counter in Germany ...instead of my preferred C class. A few of my colleagues have rented/driven them. It actually looks big compared to a Smart car though, which is essentially a 4 wheel motorcycle.
Hey with the gas prices in Europe and gas hitting $8./gal in London recently, you'll end up driving one of these too!
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:02 PM
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It looks to me like a European version of the Chevy Aveo or Suzuki Aerio SX. I'm not really feelin' it.
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AcuraFan
It looks to me like a European version of the Chevy Aveo or Suzuki Aerio SX. I'm not really feelin' it.
Isn't that what it's supposed to be?
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