The new A class will not be a money drain, says Mercedes boss

Athens. The second generation A class should finally break even "a long time before the end of its life cycle," said Mercedes car group chief Juergen Hubbert.

Mercedes aims to sell 180,000 A class cars next year. A total of 142,800 units were sold in the first full year of production. The A class was introduced in 1997.

The five-door version of the new A class will be the first to be launched on September 10 with a choice of three diesel and four gasoline engines.

Three-door versions will be available from the beginning of 2005. Mercedes describes that model as a coupe.

The basic model, the 95hp A150 Classic will cost 17,632 euros, including air conditioning while the three-door model will be 870 euros cheaper.

A particulate filter for the three diesel motors will be available for an additional 522 euros.

Further body versions are planned and capacity at Mercedes' Rastatt plant will be increased to 300,000 units.

A sports van is also being developed to close the gap between A and C class.

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