By on November 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

The oft-maligned European fuel-efficiency testing cycle have produced a few manipulators, per green lobby group Transport & Environment, with Mercedes-Benz as the biggest offender.

According to Automotive News Europe, T&E proclaimed the automaker’s lineup would cost an owner an additional €5,600 ($6,931 USD) in fuel over the lifetime of a vehicle. The figure comes from its 2014 Mind the Gap report, which forecasts drivers will spend 1.5 times more on fuel by 2020 than they do currently:

If your new Mercedes car swallows 40 percent more fuel than the brochure promised, it’s not your heavy-footed driving. Rather it’s because Mercedes are the current leaders at manipulating the way vehicles are tested, producing official fuel economy figures in the labs that cannot be replicated in the real world.

Mercedes product strategy and planning chief Johannes Reifenrath says his employer is aware of the deviation, adding that the driver plays a massive role in how a vehicle’s fuel economy fares in the real world. Reifenrath reminded T&E and other critics that the testing procedures “are not determined by the automakers… the EU Commission defines the rules we have to play by.”

T&E’s report states the gap between the lab and the real world had grown across all brands between 2001 and 2013, leaping from 8 percent to 31 percent for private owners. The group is calling for reforms in fuel-efficiency testing, with a focus on more real-world results.

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29 Comments on “Report: Mercedes-Benz Biggest Manipulator Of Euro Fuel-Efficiency Test Results...”

  • avatar



    MB: “No…. never….” *crickets*

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I’m with Mercedes on this one. Everyone knows that European fuel economy numbers are bunk.

    Some lobby group decides to issue a press release, singling-out Mercedes in order to get more coverage, and TTAC plays along? Give me a break, it’s just a PR stunt. MB is a convenient target, but the EU is really to blame.

    • 0 avatar

      The obvious synthesies of course being; fire the tax feeding government fuel economy corruptocrats, and there’s one less thing for a bunch of attention seekers to throw childish look-at-me tantrums over.

      There’s no “right way” to measure fuel economy. No amount of debate, or “experts say” that will determine which way is valid and which is not. If all you do is burnouts, even a Prius gets sucky economy. And a Prius does come with very burnout friendly tires, so I’m sure someone buy it for that purpose as well.

      Instead, absent a government sanctioned measure like EPA over here, those who give a toot can pick amongst competing measures, and find the one that best matches their own driving style and requirements. Kind of why back in the quaint old days, citizens of freer countries tended to arriive at better solution than those stuck kowtowing to five-year-planners.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Unfortunately, laws and regulations are not perfect. Nowhere. Loopholes exist.

    This is similar the Tax code. There is a very fine line between cheating the IRS and maximizing your tax exemptions and deductions. A good accountant can do the latter without getting you in trouble.

    Likewise, large and wealthy corporations have huge staffs of extremely knowledgeable tax experts studying the tax laws and finding the smallest loopholes they can use.

    Why would this be any different with any other government mandated regulation? Corporations will study to death the regulations. Then find the particular quirks and loopholes that will allow them to maximize the claimed economy numbers, while simultaneously meeting the law.

    Please don’t get me wrong…….I’m not saying it is ethical, nor I’m condoning the practice.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll condone it. Why shouldn’t someone or some entity take advantage of the tax breaks they are entitled to under the law? We should all volunteer more money because the government left “loopholes” in the tax code? And same with the fuel economy test. If following the rules of the test results in unrealistic figures, why is that Mercedes’s problem? Maybe Benz should do its own, more realistic tests that will put its reported numbers at a competitive disadvantage compared to other manufacturers using the EU’s test?

    • 0 avatar

      “Unfortunately, laws and regulations are not perfect.”

      Not just not perfect. Less good than the alternative of not laws and regulations.

  • avatar

    Heh.. a special interest group fires a salvo at the world’s premier snooty brand based on fuel economy?

    Doesn’t that just burnish MB’s image?

  • avatar

    So let’s see if I’ve got this straight:

    A government agency decides what mileage figures must be attained, and how this goal will be measured, then car makers (gasp) figure out how to do as well as possible in these mandated tests, and (gasp again) THEY are the bad ones?

    Ridiculous government testing procedures are responsible for the current crop of smaller turbocharged engines, which all get phenomenal mileage, unless (third gasp) you actually use the turbo.

    • 0 avatar

      I Agree 100%.Never understood how a turbo can have better economy ,when it requires lower compression ratios ,richer mixtures ,timing delay.Diesels are a different story.

      • 0 avatar

        Increased volumetric efficiency is one.

        Turbo engines these days have higher compression ratios compared to old non turbo gasoline engines.

        Variable valve timing solves the timing delay and pre-ignition issues with the higher compression ratios.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “lower compression ratios ,richer mixtures ,timing delay”

        That’s what 1980s turbos were like (and not all of them). All of these issues have long been addressed.

        • 0 avatar
          Brian P

          I wouldn’t count on that. You can get an Ecoboost to belch a pretty big cloud of black smoke under the right conditions. They run rich under load to protect themselves from grenading. Given the current trend of really tall gearing to down-speed that engine, and it’s quite possible that it will be running under enough load to have to protect itself quite a lot of the time under “normal-driver” conditions.

          • 0 avatar

            All engines need to run rich under a load to protect themselves. However the standard test does not include any conditions where they will enter power enrichment mode. You can get any car to “belch black smoke under the right conditions”.

            The turbo allows better mpg when it is set up so that under normal cruising conditions the engine is not creating vacuum there by reducing the pumping loss. It also works as sort of a variable displacement so that you have the extra power when wanted, ie act like a large displacement engine, but other times act like it is the rated displacement.

  • avatar

    Just came to call out the horrendous integration of the front parking sensors on that CLA.

  • avatar

    Mercedes-Benz is the biggest manipulator of many things, this included.

  • avatar

    People who lie, cheat, and steal are behaving unethically. People who would defend others for lying, cheating and stealing are behaving foolishly. If you revere the market, you should revere fixed standards, because they help solve the asymmetrical information problem that prevents markets from functioning properly: consumers cannot make informed choices if the manufacturer has the information and the consumer does not. If a manufacturer games the test, they are essentially stealing from manufacturers who present accurate good-faith test results.

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