Shortly before the first A-Class hatchbacks reach customers in Western Europe in May, a new variant of the compact-class family – in the guise of the A-Class L Saloon – will already be celebrating its premiere at Auto China (25 April to 4 May 2018) in Beijing. The notchback model being presented there features a 6 cm longer wheelbase (2789 instead of 2729 mm) and is a variant developed solely for the Chinese market. This A-Class model is being produced exclusively at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor. The market launch in China is scheduled for the second half of 2018. A version of the saloon tailored to the needs of customers outside China will likewise launch in the second half of the year.
With the latest design language characterised by clear structures and sensual surfaces, the high level of safety thanks to the innovative driving assistance systems featuring S-Class functions and the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, the Chinese A-Class L Saloon boasts all of the virtues of the new compact-class family from Mercedes-Benz. One highlight is the intelligent voice control of the MBUX system with natural speech recognition: it is proficient in various Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese.
In 2017 China was once again the largest sales market for Mercedes-Benz. Customers in the Middle Kingdom took delivery of around 590,000 vehicles last year, more than ever in a single year (+25.9%). In total, around 430,000 units were produced locally in 2017, which corresponds to more than two-thirds of the total sales volume in China.
More than six million compact models have already been delivered to customers in around 170 markets. Following the great success of the last compact-class generation – Mercedes-Benz sold more than 620,000 compact vehicles globally in 2017 alone – currently the company is gradually extending the new compact-car family to eight members. The A-Class Hatchback and the Chinese variant of the A-Class Saloon are the first two representatives of the new generation.