Mercedes SLA Roadster looks likelySat, 06 Dec 2008
As car manufacturers start to look with fresh eyes at smaller, cheaper cars, reports from Germany confirm that Mercedes is close to committing to the SLA, a small Roadster to be based on the next generation A-Class platform.
The original SLA concept was shown at Detroit in 2000, and aimed to slot in beneath the SLK. But at that time Mercedes didn’t have a suitable platform on which to base the car, and the project was shelved. But the car world is changing rapidly, and a small 2-seater coupe would, if nothing else, help Mercedes reduce its average Co2 levels throughout the range, something it needs to address despite the EU reducing the Co2 targets recently.
Mercedes SLA Concept - Likely to arrive in 2011
The big plus for Mercedes now is that the next generation A-Class platform will allow it to be used as the basis for the SLA. The current platform is high, with a sandwich floor and is relatively costly to make, but the next generation platform will offer much more flexibility, and should be eminently suitable for the new mini roadster.
For Mercedes, this is a bit of a no-brainer. If market conditions persist as they are, then the car could well be a shining light in the Mercedes line-up. Relatively cheap, stylish, economical and with low emissions. However, things could get back to normal before 2011, particularly if the price of oil stays low. But if that does happen, Mercedes has a get-out-of-jail-free card. It could badge the car a ‘Smart’, and use it as a replacement for the Smart Roadster.
It will happen. But Mercedes or Smart? Time will tell.
By Cars UK