Germany's luxury car makers, fresh from record 2012 sales, plan to launch new, lower priced models that would draw younger, less affluent U.
S. customers away from mass market brands such as Ford Motor Co., F -1.23% Honda Motor Co. 7267.TO +3.15% and Toyota Motor Corp. 7203.TO +2.14%
On Monday, BMW AG BMW.XE -0.99% unveiled a new version of its top-selling 3 Series sedan designed to have a starting price about $4,000 less than its current least-expensive $37,000 U.S. 3 Series. A day earlier, Daimler AG DAI.XE -1.23% showed its coming 4-cyclinder Mercedes-Benz CLA, which executives hinted could start at a price just below $30,000. Audi NSU.XE -0.38% is working on 2014 release of a four-door version of its new A3 compact expected to cost in the mid- to high $20,000 range in the U.S.
The three vehicles represent the most concerted effort in a decade to lower the barrier to entry to their brands in the U.S. The vehicles are also destined for China. The key target, especially for Mercedes, are consumers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s whose numbers rival the size of the baby boom generation.