With a starting price of just $29,900, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA is a bargain by Mercedes' standards. So far, sales have been terrific. Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

When Daimler (NASDAQOTH:DDAIF) announced the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA, a small, front-wheel-drive "four door sport coupe" with a price that starts under $30,000, some analysts were skeptical. The idea of a "cheap Mercedes" seemed to go against everything the brand had long stood for, at least here in the United States. Would buyers take such a car seriously? Would it do long-term damage to one of the world's great luxury brands?

The jury is still out on what effect the CLA will have on Mercedes-Benz as a luxury brand. But it's clear what buyers think: The CLA is selling like hotcakes, and that should do good things for Daimler's bottom line. In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear looks at Mercedes' latest U.S. sales numbers, and at how the CLA's success could help Daimler close the sales and profit gaps with German arch-rivals BMW (NASDAQOTH:BAMXF) and Audi.

Fool contributor John Rosevear has no position in the companies mentioned. You can connect with him on Twitter at @jrosevearThe Motley Fool recommends BMW. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.