Ever since I first heard Jaguar was bringing a new sedan to the market in an effort to compete with the BMW 3 Series, I’ve been interested in entry-level premium cars.
What’s not to like about having the swagger of a premium brand for the price of an average one?
Well, it doesn’t always work out. Either a lower starting price results in quality and performance that don’t stack up, as evidenced by the epic failure of Jag’s entry-level X-Type, or the “entry-level” price is still thousands more than someone might hope to pay (I’m talkin’ to you, 3 Series).
This is why news of entry-level models from luxury brands should be taken lightly. Still, I’m excited by the prospect that Mercedes-Benz could introduce three new models to the States, while Saab could ship over one.
According to the good folks over at Leftlane,
Rumors of an entry-level Mercedes-Benz model for the United States have been swirling for years, with the German car maker finally confirming those reports at the Geneva Motor Show. Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes’ marketing head, revealed at least two compact models are destined for the U.S. market.
The U.S. should see a hatchback and SUV based off the next-gen B-Class platform, with the possibility of a sedan as well. If it all goes down, we could see these smaller Benzes arrive in 2012.
A little less certain is the arrival of an entry-level Saab. Spyker is now in complete control of Saab and has plans to increase sales to 120,000 vehicles per year. Considering last year Saab sold about 20,000 cars, a drastic move, such as the introduction of a mass-market compact car, needs to be made. According to Motor Authority,
both Saab managing director Jan Ake Jonsson and Spyker CEO Victor Muller said they wanted to launch a new entry-level model and that the car had a “better than average chance” of entering production.
That car could become the 9-1 and might be a variation of the Saab 9-x BioHybrid that was shown at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Of course, any new platform for a compact would now have to be developed in-house by Spyker, which potentially could lead to a lot of roadblocks; or one very exciting new entry into the premium compact class. Certainly more exciting than Jaguar’s entry-level experiment turned out to be, anyway!
Do premium entry-level vehicles appeal to you, or would you rather spend the same amount of money and get something bigger?