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Report: Mercedes reconsiders A-Class-based SLA roadster

by Nick Aziz

With car shoppers showing an increased interest in premium compact vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is said to be revisiting its SLA Concept, which was shown at the Detroit auto show in 2000. CEO Dieter Zetsche is reportedly considering building a new roadster model inspired by the concept and based on the A-Class platform.

The decision to consider a new SLA-Class comes as Volkswagen prepares to unveil its new compact roadster concept and BMW readies a compact two-seater of its own in the form of the 1-Series-based Z2.

The car would be based on the next-generation A-Class platform, which is expected to be far less expensive to manufacture and more flexible in terms of body styles.

An anonymous Mercedes official told AutoWeek it's "part of the regular new-model review at Mercedes-Benz to look at ideas from the past." The source went on to say when the SLA was originally proposed "we didn't have a suitable platform ... this problem will be alleviated with the arrival of the next A-Class."

Since no decision on production has been made, the soonest you might see an SLA in showrooms is 2012.