DIANA T. KURYLKO

Don't worry, Mercedes isn't going too small

Diana T. Kurylko covers various U.S. import brands for Automotive NewsDiana T. Kurylko covers various U.S. import brands for Automotive News
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NEW YORK -- Mercedes-Benz is going small, but not too small, says its new U.S. chief.

A concept four-door with sporty coupe styling will be shown in Los Angeles later this month. It will be a preview of the new A/B compact vehicles the automaker will begin selling in the United States starting late next year, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon said yesterday at the New York auto show.

The new four-door reportedly will be called the CLC -- a name Cannon would not confirm.

It's new territory for Mercedes-Benz, a brand synonymous with large and spacious luxury sedans.

But this new family of cars on a new platform won't be competing with the Fiat 500 or the Mini Cooper hardtop, Cannon said.

The first car will only be "a couple of inches" smaller than the C class, he said.

The C-class sedan and coupe are about 181 inches long. The Fiat 500 is 139.6 inches long.

But even aside from being a couple of inches shorter than the C class, the new four-door will be different enough to draw customers who normally wouldn't have considered or bought a Mercedes, Cannon said.

For Mercedes, getting small right will be big a feat.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter

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