The next generation Mercedes-Benz CLA got an electric version, although the name is unclear.
The company’s CEO, Ola Kallenius, confirmed last week that Mercedes-Benz will focus on small cars “which we believe are the most successful around the world”.
“We may at the end of the year also tease what that future looks like,” he added.
The spied four-door coupe clearly features a charging outlet on the right rear fender, though it wears heavy camouflage up front to cover its fascia.
The boot lid also sits very high, while prototype taillights have been installed.
Otherwise, the design appears to be a newly revamped evolution of the current car. It could borrow some design cues from the aerodynamic EQXX concept car.
It could stick to the CLA nameplate, albeit in electric guise, reports a German publication Handelsblatt earlier this year suggested Mercedes-Benz will drop its EQ sub-brand from 2024 when it launches a new range of small electric vehicles.
Such steps will help reduce confusion. For example, the EQA is not the electric Class A but the electric GLA, and the EQC is related to the GLC and not the C Class.
Obviously EQGLA and EQGLC will prove effective, but it invites confusion as more electric models come on stream. Mercedes-Benz has already had to differentiate its largest electric SUV from its largest passenger EV by calling it the EQS SUV.
Mercedes-Benz’s new MMA small car architecture will debut in 2024 to replace the current MFA2 base, and will be the first to use the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS).
It may also be the last Mercedes-Benz platform to be introduced with an internal combustion power option, as from 2025 onwards the company has said all new platforms will be electric only.
It previously confirmed the MMA platform would be “electric first” but support internal combustion engines, while it could also be used for mid-size vehicles.
Despite the new platform, Mercedes-Benz is reducing the number of small cars it offers as it targets more of the lucrative upscale segment.
Mercedes-Benz sold 680,000 Entry Luxury vehicles worldwide in 2019 but only 570,000 in 2021, yet during that time average sales prices increased by 20 percent.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will reposition its Entry Luxury vehicle, “tuning more precisely to the wishes of discerning customers”.
It also aims to record higher profit margins on the vehicle, as part of a wider push by the company to achieve an operating margin target of around 14 percent by mid-decade in favorable market conditions or eight percent in “very unfavorable.” conditions. .
It will reduce the number of small cars from seven to four, with reports suggesting the popular A-Class and less popular B-Class are on the chopping block.
The A-Class sedan is already on sale in the US market, where Mercedes-Benz expects it to be more popular, and the brand may want to reduce the duplication of having two four-door models of the same size.
It currently offers Class A hatches and sedans, CLA four-door coupes and Shooting Brake wagons, Class B MPVs and GLA and GLB crossovers.
Mercedes-Benz also offers electric versions of the latter two, EQA and EQB.
The same report from Handelsblatt say the GLA and GLB crossovers and the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake will be the four surviving members, with electric powertrains almost certain to be offered on all four.
The CLA’s reported Shooting Brake savings may come as a surprise, considering it’s largely a European-only model.
The current generation Shooting Brake has never been sold here, while CLA sales in Europe – including the coupe – are at about half that of the A-Class.
MORE: It’s all Mercedes-Benz CLA