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by Tim Beissmann

Mercedes-Benz could expand its front-wheel-drive family when it launches its next-generation small-car architecture in 2018.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told reporters the premium German manufacturer is currently planning its future vehicle line-up and is looking at further diversifying its small-car range.

“We are considering the final portfolio of the next generation of our compact cars,” said Zetsche, as reported by Automotive News.

“We have to define it and we may expand the portfolio.”

Mercedes-Benz-GLA-Concept

Mercedes-Benz’s compact FWD platform currently underpins the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA-Class sedan – the latter due to arrive in Australia in October.

The production version of the fourth model, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class crossover, will debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show ahead of its 2014 Australian launch, while a fifth compact model – potentially a two-door sports car – will also debut internationally next year.

Zetsche would not reveal what new compact models the company was considering. A number of potential body styles have been rumoured, including a sub-SLK-Class roadster, and Shooting Brake and convertible versions of the four-door CLA-Class.

Mercedes’ small cars are among the brand’s most popular in Australia, with the A-Class and B-Class its second- and third-highest-selling models so far this year behind the C-Class, with 1328 and 1950 sales respectively to the end of June.




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