Production of Mercedes-Benz compact carsEnlarge Photo
A month ago, it was reported that Mercedes-Benz was considering production in Mexico, with the most likely scenario seeing the CLA Class compact sedan built at an existing plant from Mercedes alliance partner Nissan.
Nissan’s upmarket Infiniti brand will soon launch its own compact car based on the bones of the CLA, so both cars could potentially share a production line. Currently, Infiniti has only confirmed production of its upcoming compact at a Nissan plant in the U.K.
Mercedes-Benz CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche has now revealed that a decision on production in Mexico will be made early next year, reports Automotive News (subscription required).
If approved, the CLA would be built at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, beginning in 2018, Zetsche went on to reveal, suggesting a next-generation version of the car.
Nissan plans to upgrade the plant for production of an Infiniti compact car, which suggests a U.S. launch of its compact. Infiniti is yet to officially confirm the launch of a compact car in the U.S.
The benefits of Mexican production are numerous. They include access to good infrastructure, competitive cost structures and lucrative free trade agreements with the U.S. The move would also help Mercedes hedge against currently fluctuations and aid logistics.
This is why many of Mercedes’ rivals are also considering starting production in Mexico. Audi has already announced plans to build its next-generation Q5 in Mexico and BMW is considering doing the same with its 3-Series.
The CLA is currently built at a plant in Hungary alongside its A Class and B Class siblings.