Mercedes engineers are working on a new B-class model that will likely be sold in the US for the first time, and which could be on the market by 2011. Prototypes are currently being developed to meet strict North American regulatory requirements according to Mercedes’ US Chief Ernst Lieb, who also revealed that earlier plans to import the current model were scrapped because of poor exchange rates.

By designing the new B-class in line with US regulations it leaves the door open for the eventual launch of the car in the US, but “the decision will probably be done in two or three years” Lieb told reporters from Bloomberg.

The major factor holding it back is the poor state of the US dollar. Since the car is manufactured at DaimlerChrysler’s Rastatt plant in Germany, importing it to the US may price it out of the segment. The next-gen B-class is expected to spawn several variants in addition to the original MPV version, including a new sports hatch and a roadster.