Mercedes-Benz will offer next-generation A-Class and B-Class to the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz said Friday that it will be cutting production at its Alabama plant which produces the ML-Class and GL-Class SUVs. However, parent company Daimler AG expects U.S. sales to fall in the second half of 2008 as the nation faces bad economic times and high gas-prices

According to Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz will likely raise prices by several hundred dollars on its models to counter the drop in profits.

Zetsche also said that Mercedes-Benz will likely add the next-generation A-Class and B-Class to its U.S. lineup as consumer demand shifts to more smaller vehicles. Mercedes-Benz previously decided not to bring the B-Class to the U.S. due to the weak dollar.

The next-generation front-wheel-drive A-Class and B-Class are due out in 2011 and will be offered in a coupe, convertible and crossover variant . The models will compete with the upcoming BMW X1 and Q3 as well as the existing BMW 1-Series and the Audi A3.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)