Mercedes Goes Way Downmarket With $299 Lease

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Luxury car companies want to capture young and barely affluent buyers to diversify away from the much smaller number of old, rich people. As part of its effort, Mercedes offers a $299 a month lease for its CLA250 Coupe and CLA250 Coupe 4MATIC

The lease period covers 36 months, and it requires an initial payment of $3,952 for the CLA250 Coupe and $3,693 for the CLA250 Coupe 4MATIC. The initial payment may be the hardest part of the financial deal to market, at least to buyers on a budget.

The two cars have low manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) as well. The CLA250 Coupe’s is $32,400. The CLA250 Coupe 4MATIC’s is $34,400. That puts them in the range of higher priced Fords and Toyotas. Presumably the Mercedes brand will take away customers who might consider cars from mass market manufacturers.

Mercedes markets the models as astonishingly special vehicles:

With a show-car shape and seductive details, the CLA’s style is irresistible. Its profile is sleek like a coupe, yet it offers room for five and the innovation that defines a Mercedes-Benz. From its diamond-block grille to its LED taillamps, there may be no car on the road offering such eye-catching style at such an eye-opening price.

Some reviewers have been unkind to the two cars. Among the criticisms are that they have cheap interiors. Others are that the ride can be choppy and noisy. Cars.com reviewers pointed out: “2017 but still too many drawbacks to justify its cost versus everything else that $35,000 can buy.”

The Car Connection gives the entry-level Mercedes a rating of 6.6 out of 10. It gets particularly low scores for “comfort and quality.”

Among the questions industry experts have had about low-end luxury brand models since they were introduced is whether their lack of real luxury amenities and the criticism this brings undermine their parent brands. For $299 a month, Mercedes may sell enough cars as time passes so that management does not worry.