German automaker Mercedes-Benz is questioning whether it should continue offering diesel-powered vehicles in America as the demand for diesels in the U.S. continues to slide downward.
Speaking with Automotive News at last week’s auto show in Los Angeles, Matthias Luehrs, Vice President of Sales and Product Management for Mercedes-Benz, said his company is conducting market research on U.S. diesel demand to help guide its direction for the future.
“We have to look at that and see whether it makes sense to offer diesels in the future,” Luehrs said. “We have not come to a conclusion but we obviously always tend to develop cars and offer vehicles according to customers’ demands.”
Dropping diesels entirely in the U.S. “is a theoretical option,” he said.
Mercedes is expecting the first results from its market research early next year, Luehrs said. He noted that demand for diesels in North America has been low “and is still lowering” for cars and crossovers.
The company canceled the C300d 4MATIC diesel sedan last October, which was supposed to arrive earlier this year.
Instead, Mercedes is concentrating on obtaining EPA certification for the V-6 diesel in the GLS350d, a diesel version of the company’s large crossover.
With regard to the certification process under way on the GLS, plus the GLC and GLE crossover diesel models, Mercedes is “confident that in most of the cases” it will succeed in gaining approvals, Luehrs said.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process of certifying new diesels in the United States has become more difficult and time-intensive since Volkswagen’s dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, which has delayed diesel certifications for Mercedes and other automakers.