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Daimler Investing Around $8 Bil on “Green” Powertrains by 2018.

New, 300-mile electric Mercedes set to debut at Paris Motor Show.

by on Jun.13, 2016

Mercedes plans to launch a new hydrogen car with a plug-in battery system to boost mileage.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG will invest more than seven billion euros, or $8 billion, on green powertrains over the next two years – about half of its total R&D budget — the automaker said today.

That effort will include a mix of different technologies, including fuel-cell vehicles and clean diesels, as well as various battery drive systems. The maker said that “all” of its vehicle lines will be “electrified” by 2020, with sales of such models expected to be in the “six figures” by then, according to Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber.

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“We will electrify all Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series step by step,” said Weber,the executive last week announcing that a prototype of a new models capable of 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles per charge, will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October.

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Mercedes Hit With New Class-Action Lawsuit Over Diesels

Additional tests reveal “defeat device,” law firm claims.

by on Apr.08, 2016

In 2012, Mercedes launched its first diesel model in the U.S. in nearly two decades.

Already facing a lawsuit claiming it cheated on diesel emissions tests, Mercedes-Benz has been served a second class-action lawsuit claiming that it used a so-called “defeat device” to get around U.S. regulations.

The new suit was filed by Hagens Berman, the same Seattle law firm that first levied a complaint against the German automaker back in February. That’s a claim reminiscent of the charges filed against Volkswagen AG last September by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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“The fact that Mercedes passed the dynamometer test in all tests, but failed the real world test, is suggestive that like VW, Mercedes is implementing a ‘defeat device’,” the law firm said in a complaint filed in the U.S> District Court of New Jersey.

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EPA Looking at Claims Mercedes Rigged Diesels

But no formal investigation, government says.

by on Feb.29, 2016

In 2012, Mercedes launched a U.S. S-Class diesel for the first time since 1995.

Barely a week after a Seattle law firm filed a class action lawsuit against luxury carmaker Daimler AG, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Monday that it is looking into claims the automaker’s diesel vehicles were illegally rigged to pass American emissions standards.

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The agency says it wants data but cautions that it has not yet opened a formal investigation. Parent of Mercedes-Benz denies allegations and says it is fully cooperating with the government.

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Mercedes-Benz Facing Class Action Suit Over Diesel Emissions Claims

Suit asserts German maker rigged diesels at low temperatures.

by on Feb.18, 2016

Mercedes-Benz offers diesel options in a number of models, such as this E250 BlueTec.

Just a day after Mercedes-Benz announced a new generation of “clean” diesel engines, the German maker has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming it cheated on emissions rules with its older diesels.

The suit’s allegations echo claims against Volkswagen, another German maker that has acknowledged using a so-called “defeat device” to rig 11 million vehicles sold in the U.S. using a 2.0-liter turbodiesel, including 482,000 sold in the U.S.

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The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois cites tests done for the Dutch government indicating that, in real-world conditions, Mercedes’ BlueTec diesel vehicles produced “dangerous levels” of smog-causing nitrogen oxides, according to a statement by Seattle law firm Hagens Berman.

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First Look: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

An all-new taker on the maker’s “bread-and-butter” car.

by on Dec.14, 2012

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

It’s going to be a busy year for Mercedes-Benz. Coming off a year of record sales, the German maker hopes to keep momentum going as it launches three critical new products into the American market.

That list covers all extremes of the passenger car segment.  At one end is the all-new, coupe-like sedan, the downsized CLA, while at the other we’ll see a complete remake of the flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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But perhaps most significant will be the all-new take on the Mercedes E-Class, a model US CEO Steve Cannon accurately describes as the brand’s “bread-and-butter car.”

Though the official preview won’t take place for another month, the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class scheduled for introduction at the Detroit Auto Show, the maker has lifted the covers and offered up this first full look at the redesigned sedan.

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First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 Turbodiesel

A powerful performer that also delivers great mileage.

by on Dec.09, 2011

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec.

Let me get this out of the way: I’ve been a fan of Mercedes-Benz products for decades.  I remember my freshman year in college, when everyone still drove American cars, and my buddy Joe had a mint condition 230 sedan.  Yes, it was slow, but it still was a Benz, and I not only felt cool riding around in it, but I also felt incredibly safe, and for good reason, as Mercedes-Benz has long been a leader in safety technology.

Graduation in the early 80s saw diesel powered Benzes at their peak.  You could choose from entry level diesel sedans, to a cool coupe, to the top of the line S-Class diesel.  In fact, 80% of Mercedes-Benz sales during that time were diesel-powered models. But due to increasing diesel fuel prices, and a general dislike of the then smelly, slower accelerating process that was diesel, sales waned, and the last full-sized Benz diesel sold in the United States was the 1995 S350.

So, perhaps, it’s appropriate that the diesel new flagship of the German maker’s U.S. line-up is the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec.

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Though Mercedes restarted U.S. production of diesel powered cars and SUVs several years ago, model year 2012 represents the return of the big S-Class diesel, and it is an incredibly fun car to drive.  Because high torque diesels make their power at low RPM, when you put you foot into the new S-Class, it moves out with startling authority (0-60 mph in seven seconds). And with new technology, very low sound levels accompany this powerful acceleration.  Take one on a test drive, and if you didn’t know going in you were driving a diesel model, I’d bet nine of ten drivers would not know they weren’t driving a gasoline powered car.

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First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec 4Matic

Diesel power to the people.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Mercedes brings a diesel back to the U.S. S-Class line-up for the first time since 1995.

For the first time in 17 years, Mercedes-Benz will put an oil burner into the flagship S-Class line-up.  And to enhance the appeal, the 2012 Mercedes S350 BlueTec will come with the German maker’s all-wheel-drive 4Matic system.

The return of the diesel suggests that even the most affluent American motorists are beginning to pay attention to fuel economy at a time when petro-analysts are predicting gas prices could soon reach as high as $5 a gallon.

The Mercedes-Benz S350 will use the same clean BlueTec diesel currently found in the maker’s GL- and M-Class SUVs.  In the sedan, the oil burner will make a seemingly modest 210 horsepower but a stump-pulling 400 foot-pounds of torque.

Significantly, with highway mileage anticipated at somewhere above 28 mpg, the S350 will not only best the gas-powered S550’s 21 mpg, but even 25 mpg S400 Hybrid.

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Diesel Engine Growth in the United States Remains Constrained by Buyer Perceptions

Latest study reaffirms that fuel prices and urea maintenance turn off most potential buyers.

by on Apr.14, 2009

Volkswagen remains committed to selling diesel engines in the U.S. while other makers waffle.

Volkswagen remains committed to selling diesel engines in the U.S. while other makers waffle.

While some consumer attitudes toward diesel engines are becoming more favorable, roughly two-thirds of potential buyers still will not consider the expensive engines for their next vehicle. 

According to the Morpace Powertrain Acceptance & Consumer Engagement (PACE) study, 62% of new vehicle owners feel that diesel powered vehicles have “gotten better” over the past 10 years. And 35% now say they will “consider” clean diesel technology for their next vehicle because of perceptions of improved fuel economy and greater environmental friendliness. Small car owners, not surprisingly, show the least interest in oil burners. Owners of gas-guzzling luxury cars and full-size pickups are most likely to consider “clean” diesel.

Diesels have certainly been popular in Europe where lavish subsidies exist for the fuel or in tax reductions for vehicles that use diesel fuel. They now account for about half of all new motor vehicles sold there each year. In this country, diesels account for well under 5% of the market, though the market research firm, J.D. Power and Associates, perhaps influenced by its European-based clients, says the figure could reach 15% – 20% by the middle of the next decade.

Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce a new Bluetec version of its E350, shortly after the launch of the gasoline-powered 2010 E-Class sedans and coupes, later this year. The E350, which will meet the toughest emissions standards in all 50 states, provides V-8 like performance but V-6 fuel economy. The company is also considering an E250 4-cylinder diesel for the U.S. that would provide V-6 levels of horsepower and torque, but fuel economy estimated at 44 mpg. That would meet or exceed the mileage of the best hybrid models in its mid-size segment, but still offer substantially better performance, according to the automaker, which missed the move to hybrids by its Japanese competitors, notably Lexus.

Audi will launch its first “clean” diesel, the Q7 TDI, later this month for $50,900, officials have announced. The Q7 is expected preview an assortment of new Audi diesel-powered vehicles, despite growing skepticism about the role of the high-efficiency engines in the American marketplace. Audi too missed the hybrid revolution.

“While the perceptions of diesel have changed for the better, consideration of clean diesel vehicles is hampered by the high cost of diesel fuel compared to gasoline,” says Bryan Krulikowski, author of the Morpace study. (more…)

Mercedes Eyeing “Wonder Diesel” for U.S.

E250 Bluetec could deliver 44 mpg.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Would American luxury buyers embrace a midsize Mercedes-Benz sedan delivering fuel economy better than most of today’s hybrids?

That’s the question the German automaker is trying to answer as it ponders whether to begin importing its E250 Bluetec, a high-mileage luxury car that European autowriters have taken to calling the “wonder diesel.”

“We’re asking whether (people) could imagine a 4-cylinder diesel E-Class here in the U.S.,” said Klaus Meier, Mercedes’ executive vice president of sales.

The automaker already plans to introduce a new Bluetec version of its E350, shortly after the launch of the gasoline-powered 2010 E-Class sedans and coupes, later this year.  The E350, which will meet the toughest emissions standards in all 50 states, provides near-V-8 performance but V-6 fuel economy.  The E250, would provide V-6 levels of horsepower and torque, but fuel economy Meier estimates at 44 mpg.  That would meet or exceed the mileage of the best hybrid models in its segment, but still offer substantially better performance, according to the automaker.

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