German magazine Auto Bild relaunched the rumor from two years ago that Mercedes will build a three-door model smaller than the A-Class under the code name Mercedes A City. Is this rumor realistic?
Photo: Auto Bild
In October 2020, when Mercedes unveiled its new model strategy, Ola Kallenius said very clearly that Mercedes-Benz will reduce the number of small cars it makes as part of a new strategy to re-focus on luxury markets and move away from volume segments.
Kallenius mentioned that in the future the attention will be directed to the luxury brands AMG and Maybach and to the electrification that will be offered also for this brands.
And where did this rumor launched by the German magazine come from? Our opinion is that this rumor is just a dream and that’s why.
It is obvious that both Dieter Zetsche towards the end of his term and Ola Kallenius were not satisfied with the result of the cooperation with Renault.
Although none clearly stated this, Mercedes gradually abandoned the original Renault engines.
The 1.5 dci diesel engine of Renault origin has also disappeared from the A-Class so that it no longer exists on any Mercedes model. Mercedes preferred to replace it with its own 2-liter OM654q engine in a version with a power output reduced to 116 HP just as much as the Renault engine. The reason: in terms of torque and performance this engine was not at the level required by the demands of a Mercedes even if Mercedes made changes to this engine.
The only surviving engine in cooperation with Renault is the 1.33 liter in the basic versions of compact models.
On the other hand, the experience of cooperating with Renault in the small commercial segment was a major failure. Built on the basis of Renault Kangoo, Mercedes Citan registered poor results at Euro NCAP and the perceived quality was far below Mercedes’ demands.
The Germans have announced a new generation of Citan (commercial version) and T-Class (passenger version) for 2020 which is clearly mentioned as a completely new development.
“The T-Class will be clearly discernible at first glance as a member of the Mercedes-Benz family and will feature unmistakeably typical characteristics of the brand with the three-pointed star. Especially in terms of design, value, safety and connectivity, the new vehicle will bear the DNA of Mercedes-Benz”, said Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
In Zetsche’s days, there were rumors that Mercedes would like to build a smaller SUV than the GLA based on Renault Captur, but following the failure of the cooperation on Kangoo / Citan, the idea was abandoned.
It is therefore obvious that Mercedes will not try to make a possible compact model with Renault for the reasons mentioned above.
On the other hand, Ola Kallenius focuses on luxury models with higher profit margins because Mercedes needs, like any other manufacturer, huge investments in electrification and therefore a smaller model than A-class (Mercedes A City) is not a priority.
Another reason why Mercedes does not focus on such a model (Mercedes A City) is the fact that there is already a partnership with Geely for the development of the new smart range and this will include a small SUV. whose architecture has already been presented in a post on linkedin.
Although no details have been given, this SUV will be around 4 meters, which is exactly where a smaller model than the A-Class would fit. In addition, this SUV will be much more practical than an A-Class derivative with only 3 doors.
And this SUV will be electric being an ideal alternative for the new mobility in cities.
At one point we also reiterated the idea that it would be worthwhile to develop a successor for the classic A-Class with sandwich structure. But such a dedicated platform for a single model would not be profitable. The first two generations of the A-Class were two brilliant models offering space from a compact car on a length of less than 4 meters.
Currently, BMW does not have a smaller model than the 1 Series, preferring to occupy this segment with the Mini brand and Audi has announced that it will give up the Audi A1 due to insufficient sales.
And the Audi A1 is based on the MQB A0 platform from Polo and the current sales figures does not make this model profitable.
So, we believe that a smaller three-door A-Class is just a rumor that has no coverage in terms of profitability but does not make sense in the current situation of the car market.