In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Mercedes-Benz global sales and marketing chief Joachim Schmidt said that the company will be offering front-wheel-drive models in the U.S. for the first time in the next three years.

Mercedes-Benz has two front-wheel-drive models now, the A-Class (shown) and B-Class, both of which are popular in Europe. However, it has not yet offered either car in the U.S. market, fearing that two compact hatchbacks could dilute its luxury-car brand.

Interestingly, Schmidt told AN Europe that Mercedes-Benz still isn't planning to offer those two models, although it could in the future. Instead, two new vehicles based off of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz front-wheel-drive architecture (known as MFA) would be offered. The first would be a compact coupe, which Schmidt refers to as a "baby CLS" due to its resemblance to the style-leading sedan. The other would be a small crossover aimed at the BMW X1. AN Europe also notes that a third model is under discussion for the U.S. market, possibly a compact wagon.

So what do you think? Should Mercedes-Benz offer premium, front-wheel drive compacts in the U.S.? Do you think it'll dilute the impact of its S-Class and other premium models? Or is it a shrewd marketing ploy to get younger and less affluent buyers into the Mercedes-Benz family early? Sound off in the comments!


[Autoweek]