Fleet News

A-class withdrawal 'unlikely to affect UK fleet sales'

MERCEDES-Benz has withdrawn its all-new A-class model from sale for three months amid safety criticisms, but the manufacturer claimed the move was unlikely to leave a dent in potential British fleet market sales. The shock decision by the manufacturer, which has engineering and safety excellence as two of its hallmarks, came as more than 300 UK fleet bosses were testing the A-class at a series of ride and drive events in the south of France.

The company announced in Germany that the A-class would be withdrawn from sale for three months while a series of modifications, understood to be costing about £100 million, are made to the vehicle after Swedish journalists managed to turn over a car at less than 40mph.

However, Mercedes-Benz in Britain claimed this week that corporate sector interest in the controversial new supermini was stronger than ever. A spokesman said: 'Response from corporate buyers is excellent and we are not aware of losing a single order. Our plans for the A-class to win a 5% share of the supermini sector in Britain remain unaltered. It is significant that such a positive result has came from fleet operators who were fully aware that the cars they were driving had not been modified in the wake of the so-called Swedish elk test results.'

Two weeks ago Mercedes-Benz announced that as a result of question marks over the car's safety it was fitting £800 worth of special stability equipment and new tyres to every vehicle.

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