|Mercedes Benz B-Class 5-door|
^The automakers interest in the compact segment first became public during 2008 – when gasoline prices reached $4 a gallon around the US – but the subsequent economic collapse forced Mercedes to suspend its small car plans. However, with the market showing signs of recovery, Mercedes-Benz has recently decided to revisit its small car plans.
According to the Wall Street Journal, CEO Dieter Zetsche stated that Mercedes-Benz is considering marketing at least one of its four new compact vehicles in the United States. The compact Mercedes would compete with smaller vehicles - meaming the BMW 1-Series, MINI Cooper, and Audi A3.
It remains unclear exactly which model — or models — will be imported to the US but the next-generation B-Class appears to be the most likely candidate to appear in Mercedes U.S. showrooms sometime in 2012. Adding a small premium vehicle would not only give Mercedes an answer for the competitor's vehicles, but would also help the company to meet the higher upcoming U.S. CAFE federal fuel economy regulations, especially if the vehicle is offered with the 50+ MPG 2 liter diesel motor here. Gas engines range from 1.5 liter to a turbo 2.0 liter 4 cylinder with 5 or 6 speed manuals or a CVT transmission.