HARTFORD, Conn., May 10, 2011 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Mercedes-Benz, winner of Kelley Blue Book’s 2011 Brand Image Award for Best Prestige Brand, is rumored to be looking to expand its presence in the U.S. market with four new models starting under $30,000. The new entry-level model lineup, which is expected to include the compact A-Class, should further improve sales for Connecticut Mercedes-Benz dealers like New Country Mercedes-Benz, which has benefited from the emergence of Mercedes-Benz as the U.S. luxury sales leader in the first quarter of 2011.

The Brand Image Awards are based on consumer perception data from Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence’s Brand Watch study. The 2011 award marks the fourth consecutive year that Mercedes-Benz has topped the Prestige category.

“People recognize the rich history and sophistication behind the Mercedes-Benz name,” said M. Todd Pancavage, general manager of Hartford Mercedes-Benz dealer New Country Mercedes-Benz. “Our brand has always been aspirational. Putting a Mercedes-Benz in the garage is a sign that you’ve made it to the top. With the new compact A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is giving its customers something to drive on the way there.”

Hot on the heels of a first quarter that saw them outselling both Lexus and BMW, Mercedes-Benz revealed a concept version of the new A-Class at the New York International Auto Show, giving Mercedes-Benz fans a look into the future of the three-pointed star. Already a strong seller in Europe, the A-Class will arrive on American shores with a decidedly modern and aggressive new design, as well as some premium Mercedes-Benz features, such as adaptive cruise control and traction control. Breaking the $30,000 price barrier could also prove a powerful draw for the brand; currently, the most affordable model is the Mercedes-Benz C300, which starts in the low $30,000 range.

The A-Class hatchback concept car became an instant hit at the New York auto show and is one of a rumored quartet of small Mercedes-Benz vehicles coming to North America in the near future to compete in the emerging luxury compact segment. The remaining three new models are rumored to be a small van that will likely be available as an electric vehicle, a small sedan and a small crossover. The electric-vehicle claims are bolstered by a recent letter of intent between Mercedes-Benz and The Bosch Group, a leading supplier of automotive technology and hardware, to develop electric powertrains.

“Mercedes-Benz is not about to sit back and let competitors take control of the emerging luxury compact segment,” Pancavage said. “A growing number of customers are looking for luxury compact cars, either for fuel savings or to make it easier to get around town. Mercedes-Benz will never abandon the full-size sedans and SUVs that many buyers want, but it is pushing compact-car innovation with its new A-Class lineup.”

About New Country Mercedes-Benz:
New Country Mercedes-Benz is a premier Connecticut Mercedes-Benz dealership, and they’ve proved their excellence by receiving the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best award for 2010. They have an impressive selection of new and used Mercedes-Benz models to choose from, and their skilled service technicians ensure Mercedes-Benz owners get the most out of their vehicles. Part of the New Country Motor Car Group family of dealerships, New Country Mercedes-Benz is located at One Weston Street in Hartford, Conn. They can be reached by phone at 888-267-2959, and their extensive Mercedes-Benz inventory can be viewed at

Media Contact:
Robert Maizner, of New Country Motor Car Group, 518-584-7700