2011 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Breaks Down at Shanghai Motor Show

After a star-studded introduction, including a version of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes-Benz” by rapper David Banner and English pop singers Estelle and Daley, the car broke down before hitting the stage.

At its big debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, 2011 Mercedes-Benz Concept A eschewed its 200-horsepower BlueEfficiency powerplant in favor of a four-suitpower unit, courtesy of Mercedes brass. Photo: CDN Live

Mercedes revealed the Concept A-Class in Shanghai following an introductory presentation that featured Chinese movie star Fan Bing Bing arriving in a CLS and a tortured rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes-Benz” tune performed by US rap star David Banner and UK singers Estelle and Daley. But the automaker could not have predicted that the car claimed to feel “the pulse of a new generation” (according to Dr. Zeitche) would break down before driving onto the stage for its first global debut. In an embarrassing turn of events the concept had to be pushed onto the set by four suits.

Like the concept’s powertrain failure, the exterior design of the A-Class concept is a non-starter. While the original A-Class was an original monovolume concept, this new iteration – with its long hood and two-box silhouette – simply fails to innovate. And while the exterior appears to be near production ready, save for some minor detailing, the interior – inspired by aviation and designed by project manager Jan Kaul and Andreas Frank – is not, though it does showcase a new direction for Mercedes. “It might just make your smart phone look stupid,” said Zeitche.

Symbolic of a new family of compact cars wearing the three pointed star set to emerge in the next three years, the A-Class the first of these new products intended to “make Mercedes young again”. The car has been designed to cater to a demographic that is increasingly buying premium compact cars – a segment that is expected to grow from 5.5 million units to 7.2 million units worldwide, with China leading the sales figures.

Apparently the company sees this demographic as being attracted to dynamic lines that carve across the bodywork – pity the company has chosen to go against the concept of the original A-Class with a design language that is largely derivative of another German automaker, if only a decade too late. The fact that Mercedes has chosen to abandon innovation with their most recent offing in the expanding premium compact car segment seems like a failed opportunity. [via AutoBlog and CDN Live]

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