Prospective Mercedes A-Class owners face a month delay for their new car as the German car maker ramps up production to meet demand.
Drivers have been clamouring for the premium hatchback since it was revealed earlier this year and the brand has revealed over 70,000 orders have flooded in.
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For UK buyers this means a wait of three-to-four weeks after the January 1st launch date before they can get behind the wheel, according to one dealership MotorTorque contacted.
The registered Mercedes dealership has reported strong interest in the A-Class and said new orders are expected to arrive in late January or early February.
In the meantime, the dealership is cutting prices of the older, MPV-styled A-Class to clear remaining stock in anticipation of the new-look A-Class.
However, the short wait is unlikely to put buyers off as Mercedes attempts to wrestle control of the premium small car sector back from perennial adversary BMW and its 1 Series and the relative newcomer to the party, the smaller Audi A1 supermini.
The Audi A1, the What Car? Car of the Year for 2011, was the quickest-selling new car in Audi's history and helped to push 2010 sales over one million when it was launched.
Meanwhile, sales of the BMW 1 Series increased by over 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 to around 55,000 units worldwide as the popularity of small, premium cars rocketed.
To meet similar predicted demand, Mercedes has added a third shift to its Rastatt plant in Germany from next week and expanded the number of people working on the car by 500.
The new Mercedes A-Class is being aimed at a younger, more style-driven driver than previous versions. The dumpy MPV styling has been dropped for a sleeker hatchback shape and comes with an array of new car tech including Bluetooth, USB connectivity, iPhone integration and, on higher trims, sports seats, alloy wheels and state-of-the-art sound systems.
It will also be available in sporty AMG Sport trim, the brand's performance signature, while at the other end of the scale a diesel option is expected to deliver the first sub-100g/km (and subsequently road tax-free) Mercedes in the range.
Mercedes A-Class prices will start from £18,495 - £1,000 less than the BMW 1 Series - and deliveries will begin in January.
Written by Stephen Hurrell.