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

Daimler says it hasn’t decided to stop selling diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz models in the U.S., despite a report from a German magazine saying otherwise.

Reuters said today that Mercedes’ parent company Daimler denied a report from weekly magazine Der Spiegel, which had said the carmaker would cease to sell such cars next year.

“There is currently no decision nor are there considerations to withdraw diesel from the U.S.,” a company spokesman said.

Daimler’s sales of diesel cars make up less than one percent of its Mercedes brand’s car sales in the U.S, he said.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE, as seen above, was the top selling diesel model in the U.S. last month.

On the other hand Volkswagen did say on Tuesday it will stop selling diesel vehicles in the U.S. and will focus its attention on sporty utility and electric vehicles. It’s part of a sweeping reconfiguration for the company’s identity in the wake of the damaging diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Confusion over Mercedes-Benz’ intent came also this month at the LA Auto Show earlier this month. In an interview, Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz Cars, said that the company was looking into whether it makes sense to continue selling Mercedes diesel vehicles in the U.S.

“We have not come to a conclusion but we obviously always tend to develop cars and offer vehicles according to customers’ demands,” he said.

Mercedes is experiencing a delay in diesel certifications in the U.S. as a result of more rigorous testing procedures by the EPA following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, similar to what BMW experienced earlier this year. Mercedes is currently working to get certification on a limited number of diesel models; the company is confident that in most of the cases it will be approved.

Luehrs said that dropping diesel offerings in the U.S. altogether “is a theoretical option,” adding that demand for diesels in North America has been low.

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Daimler has been working with the Department of Justice and EPA to avert a crisis spurred by the EPA’s investigation into Volkswagen’s “defeat device” software that began last fall. Daimler has been conducting an internal investigation of its certification process for diesel exhaust emissions from Mercedes diesel cars sold in the U.S. at the request of the DOJ. The German automaker in June hired auditing firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu to help with an internal investigation.

In early April, owners of Mercedes-Benz diesel cars filed a class-action lawsuit in a New Jersey federal district court. The suit claimed that the Mercedes BlueTEC is not performing well in real world tests.

Mazda Motor Corp. has seen enough demand in the U.S. market for diesel vehicles to finally execute its long-delayed plan. Mazda debuted the next generation Mazda CX-5 crossover yesterday at the L.A. Auto Show. A diesel version with a revamped 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D clean diesel engine will roll out in the second half of 2017, the company said.

After four years of postponements, Mazda said it will be bringing diesel vehicles to the U.S., which will be followed by an all-electric vehicle launch in 2019 and a plug-in hybrid in 2021 or later.

Reuters