Mercedes' $29,900 CLA -- now you see it, now you don't

Mercedes surprised some of the competition when it launched the all-new car in September 2013 for $29,900. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

It was bound to happen, although it came sooner than expected and with no changes in equipment.

Mercedes-Benz has increased the price of the 15-month-old CLA front-wheel-drive compact sedan above $30,000 -- excluding destination.

Mercedes surprised some of the competition when it launched the all-new car in September 2013 for $29,900. Audi responded by matching the price on the new A3 sedan that went on sale earlier this year.

The price of the base 2015 CLA250 has crept up 5 percent to $31,500, plus $925 for shipping.

Pricing for the awd version has increased 5 percent to $34,425 and the CLA45 AMG is up 2 percent to $49,425. Both of those prices include shipping.

The CLA has been in hot demand since it went on sale, and supply was especially tight this spring. U.S. sales total 24,701 though November. Plant capacity is being stretched and U.S. executives say they’ll get more cars in 2015.

CarsDirect.com pricing analyst Alex Bernstein isn’t surprised by the price hike.

"High demand for the CLA has put Mercedes in a position where they likely feel confident that they can raise prices on the model without negatively affecting sales,” Bernstein said in a statement. “It will be interesting to see how the automaker continues the CLA's momentum through 2015 despite new entrants in the segment like the Audi A3."

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@autonews.com -- Follow Diana T. on Twitter: @dianakurylko

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