The Mercedes CLA-class has been a closely watched model introduction, as it breaks new ground for Mercedes in several ways. A front-wheel-drive, compact four-door with swoopy styling inspired by the much larger CLS-class, the CLA is a vehicle unlike any Mercedes has offered in the North American market. It joins new or upcoming smaller models in the market from other luxury brands such as the Audi A3, BMW 2-series, as well as near-luxury models including the Buick Verano and Acura ILX.
Interpretations of the CLA have varied widely. Some think it’s a brilliant move to bring new buyers into the brand with style and a premium badge. Others think Mercedes has reached too low and risks cheapening the value of the three-pointed star in the eyes of the public, and that the car will cannibalize sales of the C-class. Meanwhile, the car’s styling has been polarizing to those focused on design. Despite the debate, the CLA has been a strong seller for Mercedes since launch.
We were curious whether the CLA is attracting car shoppers from other luxury brands, or whether it’s on the radar of those shopping more mainstream brands. To find out, we used exclusive CarsDirect cross-shopping data from the past three months to take a look at the top five vehicles currently cross-shopped against the 2014 Mercedes CLA250.
(The percentages refer to the percentage of total CLA250 shoppers who also cross-shopped the alternate models listed. For example, 12.4% of buyers who shopped a CLA also shopped a C250.)
Mercedes C250: 12.4%
Honda Accord: 8.7%
Audi A4: 8.3%
BMW 320: 7.3%
BMW 328: 6.3%
CarsDirect’s take: The CLA seems to have successfully captured the attention of shoppers considering entry-level German luxury models such as the BMW 320, indicating the model is appealing to these buyers. As more CLA models hit the streets, we expect to see more buyers of mainstream models such as the Honda Accord consider the CLA, drawn by its combination of a premium badge with a (relatively) affordable price.