Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that it will embark on an ambitious product offensive in order to catch up with rivals Audi and BMW. The German automaker is planning on redesigning 19 of its models while launching 11 new ones before the year 2020.
Some of the new models will propel Mercedes-Benz into market segments that it has never been present in. One such product is the much-awaited CLA-Class, a front-wheel drive baby CLS that will ride on the same platform as the compact A-Class.
Another model that will open the door to an untapped niche is a convertible version of the C-Class. Scheduled to bow in 2015 when the next-gen model is introduced, the droptop C will be aimed squarely at the upcoming Audi A4 Convertible.
The firm's other new models will include the redesigned E-Class, the numerous variants of the next-gen S-Class and an Evoque-fighting crossover that might wear the moniker GLA-Class when it makes its debut at next year's Frankfurt Motor Show.
Mercedes hopes that the product offensive will enable it to draw more customers into showrooms. More specifically, the company is hoping to attract younger buyers who are ready to step into their first luxury car and court them into becoming loyal customers.
"We think we can absolutely connect with younger buyers," said Steve Cannon, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, in an interview with USA Today. "Gen Y is just coming of age, we get on their radar screen in a big way."
In Europe, the new A-Class hatchback has given Mercedes a much-needed sales boost but the automaker is still lagging in key markets such as China and the United States. Late last week, parent company Daimler announced that it was cutting Mercedes' earning targets due to slow sales all around the world.