Millennials have earned a fairly infamous reputation for killing elitist and expensive industries like diamonds and paper napkins, so it makes sense that they spend their hard earned money on avocado toast and Starbucks instead of luxury cars. Mercedes, known for its pricy luxury vehicles, isn’t taking this lying down. Instead, they’re targeting millennials with their newest sedan. Let’s take a closer look at the new CLA 35 AMG which will hit markets in 2020.
- Falling Sales
Luxury cars aren’t selling as quickly as they used to. The brand is citing trade hostility and new emission standards as the reason for this downswing, but the fact remains that sales are falling in the US, Asia and the EU. Mercedes delivered 180,539 vehicles in January of 2019 — a 6.7% drop from last year’s sales.
Sales may drop slowly, but Mercedes stocks are lower than they’ve ever been. Since 2015, the company’s shares have dropped more than 50%, causing investors to worry. Relying on old techniques and designs won’t work anymore, not with new companies like Tesla flooding the market with electric cars. Mercedes may find themselves struggling to keep up with the changing market.
Most car makers are under pressure to ‘future proof’ themselves by investing in electric vehicles, which Mercedes does with the EQC 1886 Edition they just introduced at the New York Auto Show, but investors may wonder if this change is too little, too late for the 130-year-old luxury car giant.
- The CLA Class
Mercedes has been a leading name in luxury car production for more than 130 years — they started producing luxury vehicles in the late 1800s.
The CLA class marketed to Millennials is actually six years old. First introduced in 2013, this series of subcompact sedans brought the brand’s first four-door fastback to highways that year. When it went on sale, Mercedes sold more than 100,000 units in the first year alone, something that brand reps called their best launch in 20 years.
- Introducing the CLA 35 AMG
The new CLA 35 AMG that will hit roads in 2020 is a redesigned A-Class model and marketed as an entry-level Mercedes sedan. One of the most attractive things about this new sedan is the price — under $30,000 at launch, making this luxury brand much more accessible for the average car buyer. Its four-cylinder turbocharged engine generates 305 horsepower, and the little car is reported to move from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.
The transmissions is a seven-speed manual with a dual-clutch gearbox and has 18-inch wheels as standard equipment — though you upgrade them to 19-inch at the dealership. Mercedes tweaked the body style as well to help it stand apart from the A-Class that inspired it. Chrome trim decorates the louvers, and a pair of circular exhaust ports punctuate the rear bumper.
In addition to the power under the hood, these vehicles are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system to handle navigation, music and climate control. Instead of messing around with knobs and buttons on the road, the driver just needs to say “Hey Mercedes” to gain access to voice commands. The interior lighting has 64 different color options so you can choose the perfect hue to fit your mood.
- Setting a Trend
By offering an affordable luxury sedan rather than rolling over and accepting their falling sales numbers, Mercedes may set a trend in the industry. It will be interesting to see if other luxury companies follow their example and start offering entry-level luxury cars for everyday drivers. It’ll never happen with Ferrari, of course, but we may start seeing other luxury brands showing up for lower prices.