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Mercedes coupe here in mid-2011

Old-stager: The ageing CLC will make way for a new C-class coupe.

Sleek new Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe to replace CLC in Australia next year

29 Nov 2010

MERCEDES-BENZ will replace the ageing CLC in Australia with a sexy new C-class coupe in the middle of next year.

The current CLC is a re-skinned version of the previous generation C-class and, at $51,600, is the second-cheapest car in the Mercedes range behind the B-class, but the new car is expected to be a more premium product and therefore cost more.

Mercedes-Benz Australia managing director Horst von Sanden said the CLC did well at attracting young customers to the brand.

4 center imageLeft: Current Mercedes-Benz CLC-class.

“The CLC did really well for us because we were able to position that car really attractively from a pricing perspective,” he said.

“It was for those customers who did not necessarily like the A-class or B-class concept and shape. For them, it was an opportunity to get into a Mercedes-Benz at a very attractive price.

“The new C-class coupe is slightly different (to the CLC). I think we can grab some additional customers who in the past might not necessarily have wanted to buy the CLC.” So what about those CLC owners who cannot afford the new coupe? Will Mercedes lose some sales? “We will make sure the new coupe will be attractively priced and there are other (Mercedes) models in the marketplace. Because we are constantly focusing on the younger target audience, I think there will be opportunities to get into our brand,” said Mr von Sanden.

The CLC was introduced as the Sport Coupe back in 2002 as a youthful version of the W203 C-class. When Mercedes decided against building a Sport Coupe version of the W204 C-class introduced in 2008, it simply renamed the old car CLC and gave it more contemporary front-end styling.

It has been quite successful and this year has still averaged 122 sales a month The new coupe will be introduced at the same time as a mid-life facelift for the C-class range, which continues to lead its segment with 5415 sales to the end of October against 4259 for the BMW 3-Series.

Mercedes-Benz will have a busy year in Australia next year, when the hard-core G55 AMG and G350 BlueTec SUVs will arrive in February and March respectively after being fast-tracked by the company's lucrative defence force contract.

Updated S63 AMG and S350 BlueTec limousines will follow in the first half of 2011, as will the twin-turbocharged V8 diesel GL450 CDI SUV and the second-generation CLS four-door 'coupe', starting with the CLS63 AMG.

Then in mid-2011 the sell-out SLS AMG Gullwing coupe will also be joined by an all-new SLK roadster.

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