2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA: Mercedes-Benz has been in a slow launch mode for the new front wheel drive 2014 CLA sedan since the beginning of 2013. The car has just gone on sale and advertising is blanketing the airwaves. So, what’s the story?
Target – Millennials – Does it Have Enough Rear Seat Room? The CLA is Mercedes’ price leader in the USA. Mercedes proudly touts its $29,990 base price and admits its attempt to intercept drivers under 35 before they buy their first premium brand car from BMW or Audi. Most CLAs will be priced in the $35,000 range when you get the $2,300 premium package (garage door opener, premium sound w/iPod interface, heated front seats, dual zone climate control) and the $2,370 multimedia package (rear view camera and navigation system). For that mid-thirties price you get a fully featured front wheel drive 4-cylinder four door sedan and the Mercedes three-pointed star.
Very Nicely Done “Front and Rear Six” The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a dramatic mid-cycle update that takes a relatively milquetoast car and gives it a striking personality make over. The major change is a much more aggressive front end appearance including all-LED headlamps with integral running lamps. The lower front fascia includes larger scoops and is accented by a chrome strip at the leading edge of the front air dam. Given these are the sporty models of the E-Class, the coupe and cabriolet include Mercedes’ bold three pointed star in the grille opening. All-in-all, the front appearance change practically makes the E-Class coupe and cabriolet look like all-new cars.
Mercedes-Benz premiered its all new S-Class sedan in Hamburg on May 15, 2013. Held at the Airbus factory where final assembly of the Airbus A320 and A380 is occurring, Mercedes took advantage of an over-the-top venue for an over-the-top introduction to their new Flagship. While an introduction like this should showcase the car (which it did), the showmanship used by Mercedes in this occasion was second to none. A very official looking YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U94OftPwcAc) shows the event up to just before Deiter Zetsche announced Alicia Keys who was sitting in the back of the center stage S-Class. They probably were prevented from showing her performance for contract reasons, but it was pretty darn good. She even worked very well with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra that was playing original compositions prior to her arrival.
USA sale of the 2014 Mercedes Sprinter will begin on September 1, 2013 via 218 dealers in the USA. 161 are Mercedes Benz dealers and the remainder is Freightliner dealers. About 80% of the 20,969 Sprinters sold in the USA in 2012 were Mercedes. The only difference between the Mercedes and Freightliner is the grille texture and badging. Prices are the same.
AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand. Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.
S-Class Dominates Porsche Panamera for IVA Win: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes closest to the ideal of any vehicle – car or truck. In the Premium Luxury Car class, the S-Class out-points the second place Porsche Panamera by 72 rating points. Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding. Getting a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive. Ninety-percent or more of S-Class owners rate these characteristics ideal: exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, tires and ease of getting in and out. Eighty-percent or more of S-Class owners find these additional characteristics ideal: driver’s seat visibility, cargo space, exterior styling, wheels, power and acceleration, interior storage features, safety features.
The Mercedes S-Class also won AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Best In Class Premium Luxury Car.
Infotainment System – The Only Close Miss for the 2012 S-Class: The only feature S-Class owners weren’t enthralled with was the infotainment and entertainment system. With 79% of the respondents saying the system was ideal in the S-Class, this was a close miss. About 17% of S-Class owners would like more/better infotainment technology than they have now.
You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/
For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact email@example.com and title your email “IVA Results”. A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.
Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC
Mercedes’ (@mbusa) top of the line SUV, the 7-passenger GL (#2013GL-Class), is new for 2013. As the top selling premium luxury sport utility vehicle, GL certainly is a healthy profit contributor to parent company Daimler AG. Built at Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa, Alabama assembly plant, 53% of GL production is sold in the United States. The 2013 GL is the second generation GL and continues to be derived from the platform that also underpins the 5-passenger ML. About 80% of the GL is all new for its second generation. We had a chance to drive several versions of the new GL at its global press preview in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Best in Class 2012 Aspirational Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award
The top satisfying car in the Aspirational Luxury Car Class for 2012 is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The C-Class wins not by achieving top scores in many categories in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research, but by having a solid performance in most. It is top rated in only one category, Cupholder Design and Size. While this may seem very minor, it is rare for a German vehicle to even think of having a good cupholder. With a possible high score of 5.0 on each of 48 characteristics, owners of the C-Class rated the car 4.7 or higher on several, including: Overall Satisfaction, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, and Overall Quality. The lowest satisfaction from owners of the C-Class were in fuel economy, rear seat comfort, cargo capacity and flexible seating.
The flagship sedan market today probably has the most competitive set of entries we’ve seen in years. The Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS460 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class all are eager to showcase just what the brand is about today and where technology is going in the next few years. They all have their own unique way to navigate between iPod playlists and the nearest Chipotle on the navigation screen. Some are better than others. Some have better audio systems than others. Some have more powerful powerful engines or sportier suspension tunings. Some just make people drool more than others. Once you dig in and realize how well respected the S-Class is around the world and look at the 2011 S550, you begin to understand what the hype is all about.