The Irish motor Industry must be delighted that this year to end November a total of 146,175 new cars were sold in Ireland.
That is a 17.45% increase over the same period last year.
However recently things seem to have gone a bit quiet, a worry at a time when dealerships should be busy taking orders for January 171 sales!
So what is happening?
It seems uncertainty about Global events and other more local issues such as labour unrest are making people slower to spend on a new car.
Furthermore the recent situation with Sterling made it more attractive than in the recent past to consider buying from the UK as a result UK imports are up!
Mercedes sales are already up a mighty 44% year on year and in order to continue this surge in the premium market they have decided to knock a whopping 10% off all their models currently in stock for a limited time only!
I took a look at the CLA model to see how this price drop affects its price.
When Mercedes launched the CLA saloon there were gasps of admiration at the radical new shape.
The new CLA saloon made a dramatic first impression and buyers have been voting with their wallets, its selling very well across Europe and here at home.
The styling of the Mercedes CLA is really superb. I just love it!
Flare-effect LED daytime driving lights, deep front/side air vents, chrome diamond patterned radiator grille and inset Mercedes-Benz star motif enhance its coupé-like features.
Behind the Wheel
The interior has a high-quality finish, a prominent feature of which is a driver information screen finished in black with flush-fitting silver frame.
So lets start with my only negative comment.
That screen which looks for all the world like an iPad looks like a design afterthought.
Why make a beautiful dashboard and then perch this screen on top.
I would prefer to see it integrated into the flow of the dash.
Other than that the cabin is simply superb. Beautifully built, with great style and excellent design and ergonomics.
Standard equipment on the 200 CDi Sport auto tested is excellent too and highlights include, Bluetooth with audio streaming, ECO Start/Stop, Collision Prevention Assist, Adaptive Brake Lights, Pedestrain Protection, stunning 18 inch alloys, Lowered Sports suspension and leather Sports Seats.
There are a host of other safety and luxury features too many to list here, but it is fair to say its very well kitted out.
The range includes a variety of petrol and diesels. However although I see petrol making a comeback the diesel model will be the bigger seller.
The CLA 200 Cdi is powered by a 2143cc 4 cylinder turbo diesel and in this case that unit is mated to an optional 7-speed Auto with steering wheel mounted paddle shift.
I found the performance to be excellent and I like that 7-speed auto.
If you want a more sporting or engaging driving experience you can shift gear F1 style via the paddle shifts.
On the economy front I burned an overall test average of just 6.3 litres per 100km which is a very good return. Road tax is €200.00 per year.
The CLA is marketed as a Sports Saloon so I expected a rewarding driving experience and happily I was not disappointed.
This car rides and handles very well indeed.
Drive is to the rear wheels which give the CLA a lovely feeling of balance through the corners.
It is also quiet and refined at speed with only a slightly gruff diesel clatter at idle to let it down.
In my opinion the CLA is a class leader.
Its gorgeous, beautifully built, has a lovely interior, proves eminently practical and offers the driver a rewarding driving experience. There are also a host of personalisation options.
With the 10% price drop a new CLA 180 petrol can be yours for just €29,110.
The diesel CLA180 D starts at €31,320 a saving of €3,480 over previous prices!
The local Mercedes dealer is Michael Moore Mercedes-Benz