Mercedes-Benz plans to launch eight cars off the back of the new A-Class and, unsurprisingly, a bunch of them will be crossovers. While North America will have to wait until fall for the A-Class sedan, Europe will see the hatchback much sooner. However, those models are just the start of the upscale brand’s drive to push the platform into every segment its size limitations allows.
The hatch will remain the smallest model, but CEO Dieter Zetsche says Mercedes-Benz needs to keep its rivals on their toes — and the automaker intends to tap the MFA2 platform for that honor. While the expanded lineup gives MB an edge universally, we know which automaker the company is most concerned with: BMW.
“The new BMW X2 is basically like the [current] GLA,” Zetsche recently explained to Top Gear. “And you will see a new GLA. As in other segments we’ll have two interpretations. So the GLA will be more in the SUV direction, and that will expand our scope. It gives us the possibility of doing something between the A-Class and the GLA.”
“[Mercedes] will further expand the SUVs. We need something more SUV than the GLA,” he said.
That would be the the GLB — a small seven-seater that has been seen testing around Germany in some of the ugliest automotive camouflage we’ve ever seen. The model is intended to supplement B-Class MPV, which is popular in Europe. Normally we would be unlikely to see anything even tangentially related to a Euro-spec minivan grace our roads, as the segment is still experiencing automotive purgatory in the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, the GLB isn’t an MPV. It’s more akin to a pint-sized G-Class than anything else. A lower-case G-Wagen crossover, if you will.
“There will be a three-box [sedan], mostly for the USA and Asia,” elaborated Doctor Zee. Most of the motoring community has heard buzzings that China would also receive a long wheelbase version of the A-Class sedan. If Mercedes has signed off on that, it is probably counting it for one of those eight slots — nullifying the possibility of a fourth crossover. But Zetsche’s claims make it sound like there may be a more car-like crossover below the GLA.
Something doesn’t add up. We know we have the A-Class hatchback and sedan, possibly a long-wheelbase model for China, the CLA, the GLA, the GLB, and the new B-Class. That’s only seven models unless Mercedes is doing more than just musing over the sporty, car-like GLA variant. The only alternative would be the CLA Shooting Brake, but we’ve heard it rumors that a the wagon was nixed by Daimler weeks ago.