by Seán Creedon
Ciaran Allen, Sales Manager for Mercedes in Ireland is the king of the statisticians in the Irish motor trade. Every Mercedes presentation I attend Ciaran comes up with some interesting facts.
At a Mercedes refresher day in Enniskerry last year, Ciaran said that buyers of new cars now spend approximately 11 hours researching information on a car before buying. But they spend only 30 minutes in garage forecourts.
Buyers know what type of car they want before they go into a dealership; it’s just half an hour of haggling over the price.
Well prospective buyers have had plenty of time while in Coronavirus Lockdown to check out which new cars are on the way.
Now and again a car comes along equipped with the good looks and choice of features likely to make it a winner in its sector. Such is the case with the new Mercedes-Benz GLA, a compact class SUV which should be in dealer showrooms when this current Lockdown is over.
Boasting added character, extra spaciousness and additional safety amongst its key features, the new GLA is the latest in a line of models first introduced six years ago, and later updated in a face-lifted variant launched in 2017.
Described by Mercedes-Benz as ‘a sporty, lifestyle-oriented’ partner to the GLB, and a companion to the GLC and GLE within their wider family of SUV models. The GLA will be available here in a choice of two design lines, Progressive and a high-performance AMG version.
Against a sales backdrop of more than 6.5milllion units worldwide, the luxury SUV segment is increasingly valuable to Mercedes-Benz, a fact underlined by the steps that have been taken to improve the GLA’s sporty appeal and interior spaciousness in a manner likely to make it a more compelling proposition for SUV fans.
The car is 100mm taller, despite being 15mm shorter, and designers have given it added interior headroom for driver and front passenger and considerably greater rear legroom for back seat passengers.
Dimension-wise, track width has been increased by four centimetres while ground clearance has been raised, albeit marginally. Boot volume has been increased, helped by rear seats that can slide by up to 140mm.
Other design features include details carried over from the larger 7-seat GLB and the GLC.
The new Merc GLA places its trust in the four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines that were completely modernised for their new edition compact model series.
Engines available at launch will all be turbo charged; petrol engines start with a 1.3-litre and all diesel versions will be 1.9-litre. Also in the pipeline is a 1.5-litre diesel and a plug-in petrol electric variant.
No details of prices yet, but when the model range to be marketed here is fully configured, prices will be announced across the range.
In this regard Allen said: “The new GLA will receive only a very moderate increase on the outgoing model where prices started at €38,800, notwithstanding its increased levels of specification and technical innovations.”
Cars like the GLA continue to attract more young drivers to the Mercedes brand and when this Lockdown is over I am looking forward to a proper test drive.