Mercedes-Benz planning small hatchback, SUV for the U.S.

Daimler AG is planning on offering a compact car and a small SUV under the Mercedes-Benz badge in the United States but has not decided on the timing. According to Mercedes-Benz sales and marketing chief Joachim Schmidt, the hatchback and the SUV will be both be based on the next-generation B-Class scheduled to debut in Europe at the end of next year.

He said that “a very stylish sedan” that will be sold in Europe as part of the new four-vehicle B-Class family also is being considered for the United States.

Schmidt says that the U.S. launch schedule of the two models has not been determined due to uncertainty of the euro-dollar exchange rate. However, Schmidt admits that the United States appears to be ready for a premium small car. He said that the key to the B-Class’ success in the North American market will be alternative powertrains such as a plug-in electric or fuel-cell.

– By: Kap Shah

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)