Upcoming Mercedes Benz CLA - Expected Early 2015

Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Germany-based auto manufacturer Daimler, offers a number of luxury cars, buses, coaches and trucks in the Indian auto market. Interestingly, the ultra luxury brand Maybach is also a part of the Mercedes-Benz cars division, which recently stopped its production due to low sales volumes. Currently the brand with a three pointed star has 16 segments that are categorised in A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, CL-Class, CLA-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class, G-Class, GL-Class, CLK-Class, M-Class, R-Class, S-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class and SLS AMG.

Mercedes-Benz, along with BMW and Audi, form the big 3 German luxury auto makers that compete with each other in order to become number one position holder in the luxury car segment. Ironically, these three stalwarts are also known for selling one of the best premium cars in the world.

Presently, it is not an unknown fact that the stronghold of Mercedes-Benz does not exist any more in the luxury car segment of the Indian auto market. Along with, the auto maker has fared badly in the global market in the recent times, which is evident from its global sales figures. It must be noted that BMW and Audi have captured the imagination of car buyers in India, and gained a strong position in the market. However, Mercedes-Benz has devised some plans in order to achieve the number one spot back in India, which is evident from its new range of cars.

The company only has itself to blame for this decline in dominance, if the quality of its rivals' vehicles is not taken into consideration. Nowadays, cars from Mercedes-Benz are regarded as vehicles for the 'old man' due to its conservative styling and limitations in terms of variety. However, the German company has sort to resolve this issue by doing some modifications in its plans and executing a strong comeback by the year 2016. This resurrection is already under way with Mercedes-Benz introducing some new cars while the others are ready to be launched. Some of these vehicles include A-Class, B-Class Diesel, GLA and the CLA.

The German auto maker is particularly targeting the luxury compact car segment, which will be based on the new Modular Front Architecture (MFA) platform. This concept is said to be the mantra of Mercedes-Benz to take on its rivals BMW and Audi in the Indian car market. Unlike before, when the company did not had any entry level sedan or crossover like Audi Q3 and BMW X1, it launched the first front-wheel drive car, B-Class, in the market.

Jorg Prigl, the Vice President for product group compact cars at Mercedes-Benz, was quoted as saying, “We expect new growth to come from the compact segment since it will open up new markets like China and the US and fetch volumes in markets like India and Brazil which will be completely new for that segment. India and Brazil have potential provided we make products specific to these markets and manufacture locally."

The latest upcoming vehicle from the armour of Mercedes-Benz is CLA, which was formally launched at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. Apart from it, the vehicle was also unveiled at Avant/Garde Diaries event in Los Angeles that soon followed with Auto China 2012 and Huashan 1914 Creative Park events. The vehicle was code named C117 and is available in different variants, namely CLA 180, CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY, CLA 200, CLA 250 and CLA 220 CDI. As claimed by the company, CLA is the most aerodynamic production vehicle ever built, beating the likes of Tesla Model S. Apart from it, a sport variant named CLA 45 AMG is slated to be launched in the coming months. This variant will share its drivetrain with A45 AMG and will have 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine. It is believed that the model will clock from initial to 100 kmph in just a short span of 4.6 seconds. As according to company, the CLA 45 will debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

The production for Mercedes-Benz CLA is currently carried at Kecskemet plant in Hungary, which also is home for making B-Class hatchback. Describing about the plant's capabilities Frank Klein (Plant Manager) said "The plant's entire team can't wait to get the CLA to our customers as perfectly as the B-Class cars we build in Kecskemét. We aim to follow up seamlessly on what we achieved in our first, very successful production year of 2012." Last year, the Kecskemet plant had reached its first goal to produce more than 40.000 vehicles, thus making an important contribution to the B-Class' best ever annual sales (worldwide sales of 145,649 units, more than 11 percent over the previous sales record in 2006).

Talking about the Mercedes-Benz CLA launch in India, which is expected by September 2013, this car has already generated a lot of buzz in the Indian car market. CLA happens to be an entry level sedan, which is based on the recently launched A-Class. According to industry experts, the CLA will be positioned below the current generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The German auto maker is expecting to cash-in on the festive season in India, a time when car sales soar in the country due to the auspiciousness of the tenure. It is going to be assembled at the facility in Chakan, which is located in Pune (Maharashtra). Mercedes-Benz is trying to capitalise on the first-mover advantage through the launch of CLA as none of its rivals will be introducing a vehicle in the same segment at the time. The company is expecting a rise in the demand for low priced models of the coveted brand, which makes the Mercedes-Benz CLA an important part of its strategy.

Although many would expect CLA to be a small sized sedan, it will be longer and wider than the C-Class. Industry experts feel that the smart and classy looks of CLA will surely work in its favour. It is believed that the design of Mercedes-Benz CLA will be similar to the A-Class. Largely the design of CLA follows foot steps of CLS with its numerous detailed features that gives a sporty shape to the car. The bonnet of the upcoming CLA will come embedded with power drones along with a diamond like radiator grille at its front bumper. On the sides, three striking lines will be seen, giving a mean and leak look to the CLA. Apart from an athletic rear end, the main highlight of its design is the gradual descending roofline that gives a coupe like character to the car.

The designing of upcoming Mercedes-Benz model has been given a much more aerodynamic shape, owing to its low A-pillar, exterior mirrors and extensive under body panelling. The use of such characters result in a good amount of airflow characteristics, which make the drive fuel efficient. With a low Cd figure of 0.23 for its standard model, the upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLA has achieved a new feet of being the most aerodynamic vehicle ever made.

Engine & Specification of Mercedes-Benz CLA

The Mercedes-Benz CLA will be available in four engine options, namely 3 petrol and a diesel version. Petrol variants of the CLA will be known as CLA 180, CLA 200 and CLA 250, which will generate outputs of 122 bhp, 156 bhp and 211 bhp, respectively. On the other hand, the diesel variant, called the CLA 220 CDI, is expected to churn out a maximum power of 170 bhp. All these engines will be mated to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, which will transfer the power to all its wheels. Apart from these versions, the performance variant of CLA is also slated to release soon, which will be named the CLA 45 AMG.

Exterior, Interior and Safety features of Mercedes-Benz CLA

The CLA class boasts of quite brilliant looks with edgy exteriors. The large front radiator grille sports the traditional Mercedes-Benz logo while the daytime running LED's lights in the headlamp cluster is the best part in the front fascia, as far as design is concerned. As compared to CLS, it has sharper creases and a more sportier design, which gives a more extrovert look. The detailing given to panel of the body, includes outer rarer view mirrors and a muffler tip, which give an aerodynamic shape to the car. Mercedes-Benz designers have quite lived up to the expectations of giving a balanced and sleek look to the upcoming CLA, which is quite visible from its designing language. The rear styling of CLA has taken cues from CLS with its structured edge. Featuring an arrow style arrangement, the tail lights are integrated in the wide muscular rear of the model. Apart from it, the sloping roof contour design and the distinct curvature of the rear windows gives more of a coupe stylised character to the car. An option of a sliding panoramic roof is available, which shall be a distinct possibility in India as of now. The car's dynamic design shapes a new and much needed youthful face to Mercedes-Benz.

The cabin of CLA is impressive and has some similarities with A-Class. The contemporary yet traditional feel given in the interiors spells out a true Mercedes-Benz car. For the comfort of passengers, sporty seats along with a more leg room space is provided in CLA as compared to its sister A-Class. The large 5.8-inch flat screen displays essential information regarding the various function of the car. The aircraft inspired air-conditioning vents that are done with electroplated bezels adds a dash of styling to the interiors of the car. A three spoke steering wheel with shift paddles and steering mounted controls provides convenience for the driver. However, it shall be be interesting to see the features that the Indian version of CLA shall be equipped with.

The car is provided with best-in-class features to ensure safety and comfort passengers. Features like Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and hands-free calling are provided in all models. To ensure a good sound quality, a 12 speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system is available. Apart from it, safety functions like Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist are offered in CLA. Besides to it, individual options like DISTRONIC PLUS and PARKTRONIC with active parking assist are equipped in the car. However, it must be noted that these features are available in the foreign car market while no information regarding the Indian market is available as of now.

As of now, Mercedes-Benz CLA can pose major problems for its own C-Class, which is nearly of the same size while offered in near about same price range. Though next year, the next generation C-Class is slated to hit the worldwide market, which will be bigger and equipped with more features that its current model. So till that time, Mercedes-Benz may have to chalk out plans for overcoming the problems that may arise after the launch of CLA.

Recent products like A-Class and B-Class along with the CLA proves a more aggressive and innovative design strategy, which is now followed by Mercedes-Benz. With more sportier and dynamic shape of its cars, the company has now ushered into a new era giving up its traditional designing policies, which it used extensively on its cars over the years. The latest technological advancements spells out the approach of Mercedes-Benz to reclaim the top spot of luxury car maker from its arch-rivals BMW.

As of now, there no point denying the fact that Mercedes-Benz CLA will attract a large number of buyers owing to its dynamic design that will catch attention of the masses. The car offers a visual appeal and most importantly the expected pricing of it between A-Class and C-Class gives a more tooth in order to garner a good market response.


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