In this cold winter morning I’m at the Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence ready to start a test drive with a Mercedes-Benz A-Class Next.
What we will do together today will not be a simple transfer from Florence to Milan but a real journey through the history of a really important car for the brand from Stuttgart.
Ready? Let’s Go! As I enter on the “Autostrada del Sole” (the AutoRoute from Naples to Milan), I realize that I’m driving a special car.
2017 is the twentieth year since the Mercedes-Benz Class A was born. This car was a compact van for families, appreciated even among the female audience, and in 2012 has been able to reinvent itself. That year happened a real revolution for the smallest car of Mercedes-Benz which marked the beginning of a stylistic renewal of the brand to a more sporty and youthful look.
It is not a coincidence that, from 2012, the A-Class has attracted 75% of new users while maintaining the public who had already by spreading it over the other car offered on the line up such as GLA, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, and why not, even Smart ForFour .
Thanks to this great little car now the average user of Mercedes-Benz is 13 years younger, finally abandoning the idea that the customer of the house in Stuttgart are aged. Surely this choice for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been awarded. This is demonstrated by the facts: on the Internet is firmly the first most searched premium car on Google and even the 4MATIC all-wheel drive version (see our depth here) is very appreciated. While I’m driving, I reflect that that this car was launched 5 years ago on the market. Why Mercedes-Benz continues to invest in this product despite having only made a facelift in 2015? The answers are in the numbers.
Thanks to the facelift in 2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been able to innovate (with new technologies such as high-performance LED front headlights or Apple’s Car Play systems), to keep the tradition (thanks to the Matrix mask reminiscent of the cars lines of the past) and to make even a more characteristic car (thanks to the new rear lights “signature”). All this has turned into a even more dynamic, beautiful and full of character car that the market has rewarded with a number of sales even higher than in 2012.
Another important way to understand this success lies in the offers with which Mercedes-Benz has attacked the market in recent years and the car that I’m driving is a clear example. Mercedes-Benz A-Class NEXT, in the three versions (EXECUTIVE, SPORT and PREMIUM), provides a considerable advantage to the buyer without sacrificing the dealers a margin on product discounts.
On this trip I had the opportunity to taste all the three NEXT versions and managed to understand the market ideas of Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class EXECUTIVE NEXT offers the “base” car line with a stylistic package, the alloy wheels, the predisposition to the navigation system and a rear view camera. These features capture the attention of the customer who wants a premium car but can not afford expensive options and, at the same time, does not want a Mercedes-Benz with iron rims.
The SPORT NEXT version (which adds to the standard equipment LED headlights, automatic high beam, blind spot assist and mirror pack) and the top version PREMIUM NEXT (which adds to the equipment the Command Online navigator and panorama roof) lead the customer to choose the higher version in the face of a still more money convenience. Icing on the cake is the business proposal that Mercedes-Benz offers for the A-Class NEXT.
As I walk the Milan ring road I understand how Mercedes-Benz was able to improve a product adapting it to the market demand and succeeding with customer benefits such as of A-Class NEXT, to make this car a real loved classic from the Stuttgart’s brand.
Here I am finally at the Milan Central Station where I end this journey in the history of Mercedes-Benz A-Class appreciating this new NEXT versions for the convenience in each version and for offering attractive prices.
Text: Marco Dellisanti
Photos: Marco Dellisanti