NICE, France — DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz C-Class “family” grows with the addition of a coupe and station wagon and the news that another member might be on the way. And it has all happened in a much more timely fashion than we've been accustomed to seeing Merc add variants to its stalwart sedans in generations past.
The coupe — the smallest of the C-Class range — hits dealerships in Europe in March and is expected to bring new customers to the brand, says Bernd Stegmann, C-Class product manager at Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. The highly anticipated price — reportedly “well less than $30,000” — should have something to do with that “bringing new customers to the brand” business.
The automaker will build about 70,000 annual units at its Sindelfingen, Germany, plant, with 26,000 cars targeted for U.S. sale.
Globally, Mercedes offers four engines: the 1.8L I-4 (C180), supercharged 2L I-4 (C200 Kompressor), supercharged 2.3L I-4 (C230 Kompressor) and the 2.2L 4-cyl. turbodiesel (C220 CDI).
The C230 will be the only engine available in the U.S. Astonishingly, Mercedes in Europe expects to sell 40% to 45% of the coupes with the diesel engine. The case is similar with the new C-Class wagon, which offers seven engines worldwide. For the wagon, though, the still-impressive 3.2L SOHC V-6 will be the only engine offering in the U.S.
The C220 CDI will be the volume leader in Europe, with a 30% market share in Germany alone, officials say. The C-Class wagon goes on sale in continental Europe in March. Right-hand-drive sales in the U.K. and Japan begin in July, followed by U.S. sales in September.
Some 30,000 wagons will be sold in Germany, 10,000 in the U.S. and 4,000 to 5,000 in Japan.
Word is that Mercedes is now looking to add a cabrio to the C-class range. A prototype may make an appearance at an upcoming auto show.