Mercedes-Benz has started production at its new plant in Kecskemét, Hungary less than four years after the location decision was made in the summer of 2008.

The plant, which is currently set up to produce the latest B Class hatchback, will soon start churning out other small Mercedes models including a new four-door coupe, the automaker has confirmed.

This new four-door coupe is expected to revive the CLC Class badge and will make its world debut in concept form next week at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

We’ve known of the car’s existence for almost a year now thanks to our own spy photos of prototypes, but this is the first time that Mercedes has confirmed it.

Speaking at the start of Mercedes production in Kecskemét, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche stressed the importance of the new location, stating, “With the start of production in Kecskemét, the Mercedes-Benz offensive in the premium compact segment is shifting up a gear. With the production network of the Rastatt and Kecskemét plants, we now have the capacity to meet the demand from many existing--and new--customers in the premium compact segment.”

Zetsche went on to explain that the plant opening in Kecskemét is just another milestone in Mercedes 2020 growth strategy. The wide-reaching plan calls for Mercedes to occupy the number one position in the premium segment not only in terms of brand, products and profitability, but also of unit sales. Zetsche left no doubt that all efforts are being made to achieve those four goals, with the support of a large number of activities.

Some of the more important aspects include the launch of five new models based on Mercedes’ small car platform as well as a CLS Shooting Brake in the near future. Looking further outward, the German automaker plans to launch 10 new derivatives by 2015 for which no predecessor models exist.

One example Zetsche mentioned was the S Class, which he said would expand from three models (standard, long-wheelbase and hybrid) for the current-generation to six for the next-gen model. The three additional models are expected to be a S Class Coupe designed to replace the current CL as well as a convertible version and Pullman limo, the latter aimed at replacing the Maybach line of cars.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLC Class spy shots

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLC Class spy shots