July 16, 2008

When Can We Get A B? Mercedes small car strategy still mystifies

Recently I enjoyed a great weekend in Toronto. What a super city! So many clean quiet neighborhoods close to downtown. And the Greek restaurant row on Danforth. What superb eating!

So what has this got to do with Mercedes Benz? Well, I spotted several Canadian registered Mercedes B Class beauties on the road. These are smaller and more economical than any Benz sold in the States, with a choice of two 4 cylinder engines. The cheaper, 134-hp option is mated to a 5-speed manual and apparently gets over 45 mpg (prices start at: $29,900 Canadian). The sportier turbo version sports a 6-speed tranny and a 193-hp 2.0-liter.

As far as I can tell, Canadians have been able to buy B class models for several years. However, for reasons that would seem to defy all market logic, Mercedes has no firm plans to sell the B in the U.S. of A. Plans to bring the B to the States in 2007 were apparently scrapped (smooth move MB, just ahead of $4 gas). Now there are rumors that Mercedes might in bring over the B in 2011. That's hardly the agility required of a world class competitor. Sigh!

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