No A1 rival for Mercedes

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14 Jan, 2013 11:56pm Jack Rix

CEO says Mercedes isn't interested in a premium supermini, but won't rule out tie-up with Aston

The CEO of Mercedes, Dr Dieter Zetsche, has ruled out a Mercedes-badged Audi A1 rival anytime soon. Speaking to Auto Express at the Detroit Motor Show, Zetsche blamed the decision on the large volumes needed and low profits in the supermini segment.

"Audi does a small car, BMW does too with the MINI, so far we have decided not to do the same," Zetsche explained. "You have to wonder firstly if we could achieve leadership in that segment and then what kind of profits we could actually make."

To fill the small car gap in the line-up Zetsche pointed towards a new generation of Smart cars that will begin to arrive in early 2014: "We are developing the next generation of Smart cars with Renault - there will be an expansion in the line-up, but not a proliferation like MINI." He continued, "this time we will have both two and four-seater Smarts."

Zetsche also refused to rule out a rumoured strategic partnership with Aston Martin. "I don't see any benefit in making more partnerships beyond Renault for the moment," he told us. "Relationships with companies making 2,000 cars or so would have to be on a special basis. Aston is a great brand, but whatever relationship we had would be very limited, you can't get distracted from your main goals."