The current Mercedes-Benz B-Class has enjoyed reasonable success in most of the markets it has been launched in, selling over 120,000 units in its first year alone, but the next-generation model due in 2011 is expected to sell in even higher volumes and will be sold in the U.S. for the first time.

There will also be several different versions of the upcoming 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class, a whole family in fact. Mercedes-Benz is reportedly at least four models: the regular hatch, a crossover, a sporty coupe and new sedan. A high-performance AMG variant is also planned.

Unfortunately, apart from the hatchback seen here testing in prototype form, none of the other models have been confirmed for production. That’s because Mercedes-Benz is consulting customers in the U.S. to evaluate which models are most in demand.

“The first clinics have been done in the U.S. market,” Mercedes-Benz USA’s general manager of product development, Bernhard Glaser, revealed to Automotive News. “We are still at a very early stage. The design freeze has not taken place.”

Select customers and dealers were shown clay models, with most agreeing that the hatchback would probably the least popular model.

The new 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class will be positioned below the existing C-Class range and will serve as a new entry-point for the luxury brand in the U.S. However, the design of the new cars will still be cutting edge and should embody most of what customers expect from a car wearing the Three-Pointed Star.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]