The Mercedes-Benz A-Class family – which includes the B-Class, CLA and GLA lines – will get a three-row option very soon, a company official has confirmed.
Speaking with industry journal Automotive News Europe, Mercedes-Benz's global sales boss, Britta Seeger, hinted a seven-seat model is in the works for markets like China, though it's unclear what form it will take.
"In our new compact family we will also bring seven-seat vehicles to market. We see a growing desire for seven-seat vehicles in China and we must satisfy this demand," she said.
"Will it be a minivan or an SUV? You will have to wait and see. So far you have seen the first new model, the A-Class, which is really a lovely car and a very substantial product."
Above: Current Mercedes-Benz B-Class
There are several possibilities as to how the seven-seat compact Mercedes will take shape. First is in traditional MPV form, something still relevant to the Chinese and European markets.
The second option is in the form of a 5+2 SUV, potentially the GLB. It's no secret that Mercedes-Benz is prepping a new crossover to sit between the little GLA and larger GLC – we've seen various spy photos recently (below) – and if the new model's boxy body is any indication, it could serve as a suitable base for a small people-carrying SUV.
Should the SUV become the seven-seat offering, it could prove to be quite a niche offering at that end of the premium segment. Currently, no small SUVs from premium brands offer three rows of seating.
We'd argue the latter will be chosen considering the B-Class's sales have been declining of late – though Seeger confirmed the little MPV will be replaced with a new generation. Maybe both MPV and SUV seven seaters will be offered, who knows?
The company has already confirmed the platform underpinning the new A-Class hatchback will spawn a further eight model derivatives. Even if you account for the standard B-Class along with the GLA and both 'coupe' and 'shooting brake' versions of the CLA, there's still a further four new models to come.
With the GLB and A-Class sedan also confirmed for production, that leaves two more spots – maybe a B-Class L for China?
For now, we'll have to wait and see.