Mercedes UK boss keen to introduce Mini rival


Mercedes UK boss keen to introduce Mini rival

Mercedes-Benz's UK boss has admitted he wants the firm to produce a Mini rival.

Speaking to AOL Cars, Mercedes-Benz UK president and CEO Marcus Breitschwerdt said he admires BMW's Mini brand and he wants Mercedes to have a rival. But the firm's Smart brand isn't the only brand with which to mount an attack – the Three-Pointed Star can too.

"I preach to Stuttgart day and night for Mercedes-Benz to have a supermini car that would be a Mini fighter and to wear a Mercedes badge," Breitschwerdt told us. "I am not the mainstream though - I am a lone guy on this."

Mercedes' chic and urban brand Smart showed off a four-seat concept at this month's Frankfurt motor show. And while it may have had no doors, it gave a strong picture of how a larger Smart car could look in the future.

But the four-seat Smart will never be marketed as a Mercedes-Benz – and that's why Smart cannot take the fight to the Mini on its own, believes Breitschwerdt.

"The brand proposition of Smart is different from that of Mini," explained Breitschwerdt. "There will be an overlap of customers between the two brands but largely they are different. The Mini appeal is more traditional and youth-minded, whereas Smart is post-modern. The Mini is a Blackberry and the Smart is an iPhone."

While Breitschwerdt is the first to admit he is a lone voice on the firm creating a Mini-rival that would be marketed as a Mercedes, his peers in Germany do understand his wishes.

"I wouldn't say senior management don't not want a supermini –they probably agree with me and see it as a great idea," said Breitschwerdt.

"But at this moment in time, they prudently say we have spent the last five years fixing our quality issues, carving out the Chrysler partnership and we have just launched the new A-Class – we have done a lot of stuff. Do one thing at a time, they say – it's a nice idea but not now."

Mercedes may be playing the waiting game, but is facing increased competition, not only from BMW's Mini brand, but also Jaguar, which has announced is considering its own premium supermini.