Mercedes-Benz's best technologies have long been selling points for its large S-Class flagship, but there's apparently a push within the company to apply those same features on its new range of subcompact offerings, including the new A- B-Class models. Why? Mercedes believes packing their vehicles with such fanciful gizmos is key to winning the hearts, minds, and money of younger buyers.
Although Benz plans on crafting a handful of compact vehicles from the new Mercedes Front Architecture (MFA) platform, the B-Class may be the first to reach the market, and subsequently, the first small Benz to pack all sorts of technological goodies typically reserved for larger, more expensive models. Automotive News says Daimler execs suggest features like radar-based collision prevention systems, advanced driver assistance programs (i.e. blind spot detection, lane keeping aids, pedestrian detection, etc), and in-car Internet access may trickle down to the smaller models.
"You will immediately know that these cars are from Mercedes," Hans Engel, the chief engineer of the B-Class range, told Automotive News Europe. "They will have lots of technology that wasn't available in this segment before."
That's good news for Benz, as today's compact car buyer -- both in North America and abroad -- is increasingly expecting small car offerings to feature a host of upscale amenities. And as buyers increasingly cite technology -- either tied to safety and that tied to infotainment -- as an important part of the buying process, it's understandable why Mercedes-Benz is working to expedite the trickle-down of its premium tech from the top to the bottom.
Doing so may drastically impact the success of its small-car offerings, and perhaps allow consumers to view them as full-fledged Benz models -- not budget-minded afterthoughts attempting to bask in the limelight of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Better yet, it's a chance for Daimler to develop a younger, stronger customer base that may be inclined to move upwards through its lineup in the years to come.
Along with the new B-class, Daimler's small car plans call for an all-new A-Class (as previewed with a recent compact), and two additional new compacts scheduled to launch in the next two years. Other potential offerings include both a compact SUV (think BMW X1 competitor) and a small coupe.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)