Mercedes-Benz Decides Against US EPA Certification for Diesel Models

Mercedes-Benz has ceased efforts to gain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification needed to sell 2017 model year diesel cars.

While only accounting for a small percentage of U.S. sales in the past, the company is still considering seeking certification and selling diesel cars in the future.

“We constantly review our portfolio offerings and make adjustments to meet immediate customer need,” said Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Rob Moran. “Combined with the increased effort to certify diesel engines in the U.S., we have put the certification process for diesel passenger cars on hold.”

In September 2015 the EPA warned that it would be more vigilant in enforcing diesel emission compliance after the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal broke in September 2015.

“EPA may test or require testing on any vehicle at a designated location, using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device,” wrote the EPA. “Such testing can be expected in addition to the standard emissions test cycles when Emissions Data Vehicles (EDV), and Fuel Economy Data Vehicles (FEDV) are tested by EPA.”

Meanwhile, Merces-Benz parent company Daimler has been pulled into investigations this year in Europe and the U.S.

In March, a prosecutor in Stuttgart, Germany, launched an investigation alleging fraud and misleading advertising against Daimler. Investigations are also being carried out by the U.S. Justice Department, EPA, and California Air Resources Board on Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles.

Last month, the company said these investigations could lead to big penalties and recalls.

Dietmar Exler, president and chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, said that company had not made a decision “one way or the other” on the future of U.S. diesel car sales.

The company has been pulled into lawsuits, as well, similar to the aftermath of the diesel scandal that has brought Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles into their own litigation. A “defeat device” class-action lawsuit was filed against Daimler in a New Jersey federal court last year. The company hired consulting firm Deloitte last May to support its own internal investigations.

Sprinter.

Daimler did win approval last month to sell diesel engine Sprinter commercial vans in the U.S. That followed month of talks with regulators seeking approval.

Mercedes-Benz was seeking approval since last October to sell four Mercedes diesel passenger models in the U.S.

SEE ALSO:  Mercedes-Benz Denies Report It Will Stop Selling Diesel Cars in US

The company is not depending on diesel car sales to hit its targets in the U.S., but wants to keep the door open for product offerings beyond traditional gasoline-engine vehicles.

Diesel vehicles only made up 1 percent of U.S. sales last year, Moran said. But diesel vehicles do have an audience in the U.S., with competitors such as General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW staying in the market segment.

Ironically, VW took three of the five top selling U.S. diesel car spots in April, according to HybridCar’s Dashboard. That was made up of the Golf Sportwagon Diesel, Passat Diesel, and Jetta Diesel.

Daimler’s U.S. division may seek certification at a later date.

The automaker’s division is “leaving the door open to offer diesels as a potential option in our passenger cars and SUVs,” Moran said.

Reuters


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