Cars represented 26 percent of Mercedes-Benz's total U.S. light-vehicle sales (329,574) in 2021, down from 29 percent in 2020. In the first quarter, Mercedes-Benz's U.S. car sales skidded 37 percent to 15,267, or just 20 percent of the brand's light-vehicle volume.
The base CLE, which arrives in U.S. dealerships in the first half of 2022, should be powered by a 2-liter, four-cylinder mild-hybrid engine, AutoPacific President Ed Kim said. An AMG version is also expected next year.
While targeting both C- and E-Class segments, the CLE's proportions will be closer to those of the C-Class, Kim said.
The four-passenger CLE, also available as a fabric-top convertible, will be built on Mercedes-Benz's MRA-2 platform and begin production in Bremen, Germany, in December, according to AutoForecast Solutions.
Modern crossover coupes such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLC coupes are replacing the sporty style that previously lured buyers into two-door cars, AutoForecast Vice President Sam Fiorani said.
"Utility vehicles are appealing to a wider market as younger buyers appreciate the ability to throw their gear in the back, and older buyers like the ease of getting in and out of the vehicle," Fiorani said.