Mercedes Dealers May Keep Lid on 2014 CLA250 Prices as Brand Pushes to Record Sales Year | Edmunds

Mercedes Dealers May Keep Lid on 2014 CLA250 Prices as Brand Pushes to Record Sales Year

Just the Facts:
  • With inventory of the affordable 2014 CLA250 now hitting dealerships, Mercedes-Benz's U.S. boss says some dealers may actually try to stock some examples with stickers close to the car's sub-$30,000 base price.
  • Mercedes does, however, expect average transaction prices for the 2014 CLA250 to be $34,000-$35,000.
  • Sales of the new CLA lineup will help propel Mercedes-Benz to what it's projecting as a record year for U.S. sales.

WASHINGTON — That ever-so-tempting $29,990 base price ($30,825 including destination) for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is both a blessing and a curse: a great-looking and highly-contented Mercedes-Benz for the price of a high-end Honda is certain to cement the CLA250 on the consideration list of buyers who've viewed the brand as chronically out of reach.

Problem is, skeptics say that sub-$30,000 price point is just another example of the auto biz's age-old "come-on" and that every CLA250 — just now going on sale across the country — will leave the showroom costing thousands more.

Not so fast, said Steve Cannon, Mercedes-Benz USA president and CEO, at a media drive event this week for the CLA250 and high-performance CLA45 AMG, which goes on sale in November. Cannon insists that although average transaction prices for the CLA250 are projected to be $34,000-$35,000, a base-priced 2014 CLA250 will not be the never-to-be-found showroom unicorn.

Mercedes-Benz dealers, said Cannon, are "showing interest" in ordering and stocking examples of the CLA 250 "around the base price." He adds that because of the CLA250's comprehensive list of standard equipment — particularly advanced safety hardware — a base-priced model is no stripper and would be deemed by many buyers as fully meeting their expectations.

Despite going on sale late in the year, the two new CLA models are central to propelling Mercedes-Benz to what the company is projecting will be a record sales year in the U.S. — as well as a likely luxury-car sales crown for 2013 as well. Through August, Mercedes-Benz sold 209,459 vehicles (including those from its Smart and Sprinter brands), 11.2 percent better than for the first eight months of last year. The company's all-time sales record in the U.S. was set last year, when it sold 305,072 vehicles.

Cannon said that Mercedes-Benz is gearing up for even more sales in coming years, as the brand plans 30 new-product launches in the next seven years, an average of one new model every three months. Near-term introductions include a CLA-based crossover, the 2015 GLA, early next year, as well as an all-new C-Class — currently the brand's best-seller &mdash that will be unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January and will for the first time be manufactured in the U.S. at Mercedes' assembly plant in Vance, Alabama.

Edmunds says: If you're intent on actually buying the 2014 CLA250 for that sub-$30,000 base price, some Mercedes-Benz dealers might just have one to sell.

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