SEATTLE -- Mercedes-Benz USA expects its GLA compact crossover to be in short supply when the vehicle debuts in September because of the segment's growing popularity.
The GLA may be scarcer than the CLA compact sedan that went on sale a year ago because of the "crossover-crazy market," said CEO Steve Cannon.
Since its debut in September, CLA demand has been strong and supply has fallen to as low as nine days -- far from the optimal 45-day supply Mercedes covets, he said. Supply is now below 30 days, he said.
Cannon expects a similar pinch for the GLA.
"We have production constraints. We are not going to be able to get as many as we want," Cannon said in an interview at a press event here. "We will not find out where the natural volume is."
Cannon said the United States is competing for vehicle allocation with China, where demand is equally strong. The United States is Mercedes' largest market, but China is likely to become No. 1 next year, he said.
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz USA also received vehicles from slumping Europe. But with European sales rising, "we are not getting them this year," Cannon said.
The GLA will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. The GLA has lots of standard equipment, including collision prevention assist with autonomous braking, a power liftgate, Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats and chrome roof rails.
The GLA250 4Matic with all-wheel drive goes on sale in September with a base price of $34,225. The high-performance GLA45 AMG also debuts next month and will start at $49,225. The base front-wheel-drive GLA250 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015 and will have a base price of $32,225. All prices include shipping.
The GLA base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 208 hp. The reworked four-cylinder engine in the AMG model makes 355 hp.