Mercedes Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb tells Bloomberg that the company "is designing a version of its Mercedes-Benz B-Class car for sale in North America for the first time." Great news! Unless you're Canadian, in which case you've been forgotten again.
The compact, people-moving, efficient B-Class has been on sale in Canada for over two years. But wait, there's more:
"At least we have the door open, so the decision will probably be done in two or three years,'' Lieb said yesterday in an interview. Designing a new model for the U.S. is cheaper than redesigning the current B-Class, he said.Uh, what? The current B-Class was already slated for the US market, and was reportedly only axed when the euro jumped all the way to $1.15, making the car's original $30,000 pricepoint unprofitable.
Also, MBUSA wanted to focus their people-moving attentions on the R-Class. Glad that turned out so well. If Dan Neil is to be believed--and I agree with him, so he's obviously right--the B-Class woulda coulda been what the R-Class woefully was not. [Though the Jalopnik commenters point out, even where it IS for sale, the B-Class is mostly AWOL on the road.]
So what we have here is an announcement of a decision in 2010 whether to bring a B-Class to the US in 2012? From the team that took ten freakin' years to bring the Smart Car to the US, this sounds just about right. MBUSA's only hope is that shoppers for sweet family cars will grow weary of following all the new Audi wagon models being introduced every year and, numbed from all the other choices, will wander into a Mercedes dealership.
Daimler May Offer U.S. B-Class as Fuel Prices Rise [bloomberg via jalopnik]