New models - Mercedes-Benz - B-Class
Mercedes goes from A to B in model revamp
Benz kills A-class in Oz and broadens B-class with bigger, better-value range
13 Jan 2010
By TERRY MARTIN
MERCEDES-BENZ has discontinued the A-class compact hatch in Australia, throwing its weight instead behind the B-class with a B180 variant – the new entry point to the star-spangled brand at $36,990, plus on-road and statutory charges – and improved value for others in the series.
In a statement released this week, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific said the decision to axe the A-class was taken as a result of the B-class model’s “popularity with customers” – despite the fact that it managed just 23 B-class sales across the nation last month compared with 66 of the A-class, according to the latest VFACTS figures.
While limited supplies are understood to be behind these results, the split between the two over the full 12 months in 2009 still shows both models on a relatively even keel, although both were well down on 2008 – B-class: 686 (down 27.6 per cent) A-class: 523 (down 31.8 per cent).
The B-class will undoubtedly get a boost with the new 1.7-litre four-cylinder B180 (with standard five-speed manual gearbox), which is priced $910 lower than the outgoing A180 five-door model.
Standard features on the B180 specifically highlighted by Mercedes include 17-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels, an Audio 20 sound system (with six-disc in-dash CD changer), UCI media interface (for iPod and other music devices), cruise control (with speed limiter) and an exterior chrome package.
Left: Mercedes-Benz B-class interior. Below: The Mercedes A-class.
In announcing the latest moves, Mercedes-Benz defended its action not to lower prices of other passenger car models and variants in line with the January 1 import duty reduction, emphasising the importance of maintaining resale values through value enhancements rather than price reductions.
The B-class is the first model line to receive these “value-enhancing revisions” in 2010, with both the B200 and B180 CDI boasting more than $9000 worth of additional value, according to Mercedes.
Extra equipment on these variants includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, AMG 17-inch alloy wheels, a Metro package (comprising CVT transmission and Active Parking Assist) and a Sports package.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder B200 (petrol) and B180 CDI (diesel) are, respectively, priced from $45,990 (down $210) and $47,990 (up $1790).
The B200 Turbo carries all the above additional equipment as well as the Comand APS navigation and entertainment system and metallic paint. AMG 18-inch alloy wheels are also used in place of the 17-inch rims for a total claimed additional value of $16,000 for the 2.0-litre turbocharged model.
Pricing for the B200 Turbo starts now starts from $52,990 (up $190).
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