German car maker Daimler plans to launch a new line of small luxury vehicles at its Mercedes-Benz division to rival premium-market leader BMW's Mini brand, Focus reported, without citing the source of the information.

Stuttgart-based Daimler will position the new Mercedes models above the Smart city-car, with technology to be based on the compact A-Class, the weekly magazine said on Sunday.

The offensive is due to kick off in 2015 with an SUV that is even smaller than the new GLA compact crossover, due to be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show later this month, according to Focus.

A three-door model to compete with BMW's Mini will follow in 2016, with prices for all cars to range between 17,000 euros ($22,300) and 20,000 euros.

Mercedes could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer, editing by William Hardy)