The German company sold 15,000 saloons and estate cars in 1999 and expects volume of the outgoing range to fall to around 11,000 units this year. But it will make ground with the new line-up, Ratcliffe told Fleet NewsNet. 'Our penetration will increase because we aim to sell 15,000 examples of the new saloon in 2001, with the estate and three-door hatchback variants creating additional volume as niche cars,' he said.
'Although we're regarding this as a transitional year, we have high hopes for the new C-class. It's a car that has all the virtues of its predecessor in terms of quality and integrity, but is more dynamic to drive. As it also features many of the styling cues of the S-class, we are confident it will have a wider base of appeal and should be particularly attractive to younger buyers,' said Ratcliffe.