Bye-bye, diesel cars. ’Twas nice knowing ’ya!

Mercedes-Benz is throwing in the white flag on selling diesel cars in the U.S. No official announcement has been made, but it’s looking like that’s the road the German automaker is taking. No less than Ola Kallenius, the head of research and development for the Mercedes-Benz Car Group, dropped those hints in a conversation with The Detroit Bureau at the Detroit Auto Show last week. Unless a dramatic turnaround happens, the days of diesel-powered Mercs in America are numbered.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE High Resolution Exterior
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It got caught up in tons of red tape because the EPA refused to grant it the right to sell 2017MY diesel vehicles in the country

It’s hard not to imagine Mercedes coming to this conclusion given what it’s been through in the last two years. It took a few hits from the aftermath of Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal. It was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice regarding its own diesel certification process. It got caught up in tons of red tape because the EPA refused to grant it the right to sell 2017MY diesel vehicles in the country. At some point, Mercedes had enough.

Ola Kallenius also hinted that diesel-powered Mercs have also lost their appeal in the U.S. market because of the VW diesel scandal. “The diesel doesn’t fit in our portfolio in the U.S.,” he said. Drop all these circumstances in a blender, and the business-case for diesel-powered cars in America makes no sense anymore. If there’s a silver lining in this decision, Kallenius pointed out that diesel-powered Mercs were never hot-ticket items in the U.S. According to the high-ranking executive, diesel cars only accounted for three percent of the brand’s sales numbers in the country, even during robust sales years.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class High Resolution Exterior
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All passenger cars will no longer be available with diesel engines

It might still be difficult leaving a market as big as the U.S., but Mercedes isn’t naive enough to think that it can still do business in a market that doesn’t appear to be interested in the specific product it’s offering. At the moment, the plan is to continue selling diesel versions of the Sprinter van. But that’s about it. In the next few cars, all passenger cars will no longer be available with diesel engines. It’s a trend that’s growing in other parts of the world, but evidently, it’s close to its last legs in the U.S.

References

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