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Auto blogTue, 16 Apr 2013 13:30:00 EST
Mercedes-Benz is planning a more aggressive product strategy for its next-generation C-Class range. "We were fighting the 3 Series with two arms tied behind our back, and now we will change that," Steve Cannon, the automaker's US CEO, told Automotive News in a recent interview.
In addition to offering more body styles of the new C-Class, AN reports that the revamped Mercedes will also be offered here with hybrid and diesel powertrains. Currently, the C-Class comes in coupe and sedan variants, with only gasoline engines. The BMW 3 Series, however, is available as a sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon, and offers buyers the choice of gasoline, diesel (the upcoming 328d) or hybrid power.
Mercedes-Benz will show the next-generation C-Class at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, with sales of the US-built sedan following in August. Coupe, convertible and hybrid models will follow in early 2015, and while diesel and all-wheel-drive versions are planned, no specific timetable has been released regarding availability.
When Toyota snags 30,000 Corolla orders over a three-month span, it's entirely possible we're in the midst of a global economic collapse and that the end is nigh. That's because the scale for Toyota is so very large. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, operates on a much smaller scale, particularly when we talk about its higher-end models, like the S-Class.
In 2012, Mercedes sold 65,000 of its flagship sedans in Germany and the EU. That's 178 units per day, for 365 days. Based on that, you can imagine the excitement at Stuttgart when it accepted 30,000 orders for the new S-Class in just three months. That's an average of 333 per day on a continent with a notoriously shaky economy. Now, admittedly, this enthusiasm could wane as the refitted S-Class becomes more common and Mercedes achieves market saturation in Europe's many chauffeur and livery services, but Mercedes isn't choosing to look at it that way.
"The new S-Class has already jumped back into the lead in terms of new vehicle registrations in Germany and its neighboring European countries," Mercedes-Benz head of sales and marketing, Ola Kaellenius, said in a statement last week.
Last week, Mercedes-Benz released the details for the updated 2013 Sprinter intended for global markets, but this week it has announced what changes are being made to the US-spec version of the van for the 2014 model year, including the Freightliner model. As expected, most of the changes made to the European model will be present on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter when it goes on sale in the US, which is expected to be this fall.
The biggest difference between the Sprinter announced last week and the one headed to our shores is what is found under the hood. While European Sprinters will come with diesel engines and offer the availability of a supercharged four-cylinder gasoline or CNG engine, US Sprinters will still offer the 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC diesel. This year's Sprinter now comes standard with a new base engine, the 2.1-liter four-cylinder BlueTEC diesel. This smaller engine will produce 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and will be paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission; the optional 3.0 V6 puts out 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and will be mated to a six-speed auto.
Fuel economy for the new Sprinter has not been announced, but Mercedes-Benz has made numerous changes with the goal of improving efficiency. To this end you'll find a new, low-friction rear axle and the optimization for the generator, fuel pump and power steering pump.