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World premiere of the new A-Class: Second generation of the Mercedes best-seller sets standards in terms of design, safety, reliability and variability
"The A-Class is an example of the successful strategy that Mercedes-Benz has followed over the past decade." These were the words spoken by Professor Jürgen Hubbert, member of the DaimlerChrysler AG Board of Management and head of the Mercedes Car Group, at the unveiling of the new A-Class in front of assembled journalists on board the "AIDA-aura" club ship in Greece yesterday evening. "We have expanded into new segments and more than doubled the unit sales, revenues and profits of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The A-Class has been a vital ingredient in this", said Hubbert, reflecting on the success story of a model series that has generated unit sales of around 1.1 million since 1997. DaimlerChrysler has invested some € 900 million in developing the Rastatt plant, where the A-Class is produced, and created 1600 new jobs.
Featuring the intelligent sandwich concept and the distinctive one-box design, the second generation of the A-Class displays all the outstanding characteristics of the predecessor model. "Particularly on styling, safety, reliability and adaptability, our brand's smallest model series today sets benchmarks far beyond the boundaries of its own segment", according to Mercedes chief Hubbert.
In addition the A-Class features market-leading technical innovations which underline its role as a trendsetter in the compact-car segment. In the field of active safety and ride comfort, such developments include the unique spherical parabolic rear suspension, a new damping system and the standard-specification Electronic Stability Program. The engines for the Mercedes compact car – all of which are either new or modified versions – have been further optimised with respect to output, torque and economy. Despite a significantly boosted output, fuel consumption in the new petrol models has been reduced by up to ten percent compared to the outgoing models.
"The new transmissions put the finishing touch to the high level of dynamism and driving pleasure in the new A-Class", stated Professor Jürgen Hubbert, presenting both the new six-speed manual transmission for the A 180 CDI, A 200 CDI and A 200 TURBO models as well as the AUTOTRONIC – the first continuously variable transmission to be offered by Mercedes. The AUTOTRONIC transmission is the smoothest in an already very smooth line-up of transmissions from Mercedes-Benz. The refined driving experience includes the typical Mercedes smooth start-off from rest.
Classic Mercedes comfort coupled with an outstanding look and feel
According to Professor Hubbert, Mercedes-Benz took customers' requests and requirements on board when developing the new A-Class and thus paid particular attention to further improving the comfort aspect. The larger body – now 232 mm longer and 45 mm wider – ensures significantly increased spaciousness and comfort. "This goes particularly for the rear", according to Hubbert, "where more kneeroom, more headroom and an increase in interior width help the new A-Class outflank the competition."
The general look and feel of the interior has likewise been improved, the ergonomics and "touch-and-feel" factor being everything one would expect of a vehicle designed with the Mercedes-Benz "TAF factor" in mind. "Although the A-Class has grown in various dimensions, it has remained fresh and youthful. It is every inch a typical Mercedes-Benz", emphasized Jürgen Hubbert.
Along with many engineering innovations, the new A-Class offers further highlights which are obvious even at first glance. Its styling embodies power, self-confidence and dynamism, said Hubbert, adding that the vital character of the Mercedes compact car was reflected above all by the new three-door model variant – a "genuine four-seater with two side doors" which succeeds in combining abundant space with a sporty and dynamic personality.
Commitment to Germany as a location for business and industry
The DaimlerChrysler plant in Rastatt currently employs around 4,700 people for production of the A-Class. A further 600 people work on the industrial estate at the plant site. Professor Hubbert: "We invested 900 million euros in the expansion of the Rastatt plant and of the industrial estate for production of the new A-Class. The expanded capacity for the A-Class family and its various versions has created 1,600 new jobs. This is another way in which our company shows its commitment to Germany as a location for business and industry.