GENEVA -- The redesigned A class unveiled here last week by Mercedes-Benz -- the first compact car it will offer in the United States -- ditches the current generation's boxy, minivanlike styling for a fresh, sporty look meant to attract young buyers.
"The A class is the right product at the right time and has tremendous potential to tap into new target groups and markets," Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes, said in a statement.
The A class will arrive in European showrooms in September and is scheduled to arrive in the United States in 2014.
Mercedes expects more than half of A-class buyers will be new to the brand. "We are targeting buyers aged from the late 30s to the mid-40s," Schmidt told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News.
"The United States is ready for a chic, compact car from Mercedes," Schmidt said. "It will be offered with all the important features, including safety technology. I am convinced that it will be a success there."
The A class will be built in Germany, Hungary and China.
The car will be a key model for Mercedes in its bid to retake the luxury-car lead from BMW and fight off tougher competition from Audi. Mercedes hopes the car's sporty styling will make it a strong competitor to the BMW 1 series and Audi A3.