by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

REPORT: Mercedes-Benz planning longer CLA for the Chinese market

We have recently learnt that Mercedes-Benz has further expansion plans to boost sales volumes in China in the coming years. The main focus aims to develop the new compact lineup with several new variants suitable for this emerging market.

Apart from the introduction of the new A-Class, B-Class, E-Class Long and the future generation C-Class coming in 2014, Mercedes-Benz is also mulling the release of extended wheelbase variant of the CLA 4-door coupe starting 2015.

This China-only model should receive the internal codename V 117 and be assembled at Mercedes-Benz's joint facility in the capital city of Beijing/Pekin. The total length of the CLA-Class Long (L) should be close to 4.70 meters from 4.63 meters currently, which will already bring it dangerously close to the new W 205 C-Class, expected to have around 4.70 - 4.75 meters.

This strategy is risky, as it could ruin chances of any model being suitably sold to customers. Instead of feeling a gap, the existence of a CLA-Class L would rather confuse clients as to which model to choose - the new C-Class or the :LWB 4-door coupe. Nonetheless, design is not a decisive factor anymore, so pricing and equipment should carry the answer.

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