Daimler takes aim at youth with compact Mercedes CLA
German auto giant Daimler is taking aim at the youth market with the compact, stylish -- and lower priced -- Mercedes CLA coupe, unveiled Sunday on the eve of the Detroit auto show.
A sleek silhouette delivers world-leading aerodynamics, while frameless doors offset the sporty, muscular look of a bold grill and sweeping curves in the body.
"The CLA is a style rebel," Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener said.
"The dynamic design idiom is manifested in breath-taking proportions, muscular, flowing contours and sculptural surfaces."
The interior offers all the high-tech gadgets and luxurious features customers expect from a Mercedes, like a multimedia console that seamlessly integrates with the iPhone.
The powerful engine, smooth suspension and four-wheel drive also promise agility, power and an efficient drive.
It will also be outfitted with the latest in collision prevention, including drowsiness detection and a radar that warns drivers of obstacles even at very slow speeds and will initiate braking if the driver is distracted.
"With the new CLA-class, we will open a completely new gateway to the Mercedes brand here in the US," Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt told reporters.
"Our goal is to repeat the success story of the CLS in a new segment."
The CLA is aimed at both the youth market and the "young at heart" who value "trendy and high-class design, quality and refinement and personal expression through authentic brands," Schmidt said.
Set to hit US dealerships in April, Daimler will launch an advertising blitz -- and announce the price -- during the Superbowl on February 3, which is being held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The vehicle will be sold worldwide and Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said it will be a "great car" for China and will also do well in other parts of Asia and Europe.
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