The next-generation 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is coming to the US. Moreover, it will be offered as a hatchback and SUV, and possibly a sedan too.

Mercedes-Benz is planning to introduce a total of four models under the next-generation 2012 B-Class banner. Two of these will be a hatchback and a small SUV, and both will be sold in the United States.

Joachim Schmidt, sales and marketing boss, told Automotive News that a third sedan model to be available in Europe would also be considered for the US. It is quite a gamble for Mercedes-Benz to bring out a car below the C-Class to a market known for not being particularly fond of small premium cars.

Nevertheless Schmidt believes things are changing in America and that a key factor to the B-Class's success will be a fuel-efficient powertrain. If a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell model can be offered it would help, reckons Schmidt.

The next-generation 2012 B-Class was previewed as the BlueZero Concept (pictured) at the 2009 North American International Auto Show and later spied wearing a heavy black disguise.

Mercedes planning B-Class based hatchback and small SUV for U.S.