Mercedes Bolsters C-Class With Better Battery to Withstand SUVs
(Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz is bolstering the C-Class lineup with versions that carry more powerful batteries to help its popular sedan withstand a trend toward sport-utility vehicles.
Mercedes doubled the range of the model’s plug-in hybrid versions to 100 kilometers (62 miles) to appeal to a broader customer group, sales chief Britta Seeger told reporters. The mid-size cars, which will go on sale this summer, will also get the latest multimedia system from the luxury brand’s flagship S-Class model.
The C-Class will play “a very big part” in reaching the Daimler AG unit’s target of almost doubling the share of plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars sold this year, Seeger said. Mercedes shipped about 160,000 vehicles with a battery last year, roughly 7% of its global deliveries.
The C-Class has been the best-selling Mercedes in the last decade, playing a key role in winning over customers from rivals in markets including China, the U.S. and Germany. But the car faces fierce competition from SUVs, which have surged in popularity around the world. Last year, the company decided to phase out production of the model in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and will import sedans for the U.S. market from South Africa.
For the past five years, the C-Class generated most of its sales in China, where the average age of Mercedes buyers is substantially lower than in its home market Germany.
Apart from the plug-ins, the new C-Class models will be so-called mild hybrids, featuring small electric motors that support combustion engines to reduce fuel consumption.
The company hasn’t yet disclosed prices for the new C-Class models. The current version starts at around 37,500 euros ($45,500).
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