No fewer than six new Mercedes-Benz models will be launched this year, the company revealed in its annual business review.
First up will be the new A-Class, which launches in April this year. This new hatchback will do away with the previous model’s MPV-esque styling in favour of a sportier, more purposeful look featuring strong character lines running from the base of the front wheel arches to top of the rears. We’ll also see the fruits of Mercedes’ first foray into hot hatch territory when it launches the A45 AMG around mid-year.
Soon after the launch of the new A-Class, we’ll see the new GL-Class hitting our shores, followed by the new E-Class in June/July. The new E-Class has undergone a significant cosmetic overhaul that sees it move away from the previous car’s quad-headlamp layout in favour of a more flowing, single-unit design. In addition to the saloon models, coupé and cabriolet variants will be offered in due time.
The second half of the year will be even busier than the first with the expected arrival of the A-Class-based CLA compact saloon at JIMS in October and its local introduction following soon after. The new S-Class is also set for a launch towards the end of the year.
It appears that the company is keen to offer the GLK compact SUV in South Africa sometime in 2014. It would be the first time that right-hand-drive markets will have access to this vehicle. Internationally, the GLA crossover has been given the go-ahead and is expected to be launched early in 2014. The big news for next year is the introduction of the all-new W205 C-Class, which the company hopes to launch internationally as early as April next year with local introduction following a few months later.
The Daimler group will continue to invest in the South African market in the coming years. The local version of the new C-Class will be built at Mercedes-Benz’s East London plant. This plant assembles the current C-Class for the US market and local consumption, but no LHD versions of the W205 will be built there when the new line starts next year. MBSA hopes to secure markets such as Ireland and Australia for its right-hand drive C-Class models.
At the business presentation, MBSA president and CEO, Dr Martin Zimmerman, stated that 2012 was a very successful year for the plant with production volumes at an all-time high, while still being able to improve efficiency by 30 per cent. The plant also notched up yet another JD Power and Associates award in the US market. In addition to its passenger vehicle lines, the Mercedes-Benz SA group also assembles commercial vehicles such as Freightliner, Fuso and Mercedes-Benz Trucks at its East London production plant.