By on May 10, 2017

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

Fans of German compression-ignition engines had best dig out those old, glossy posters of an olive green 300D, as they’re going to need it.

Daimler announced it will not sell 2017 diesel Mercedes-Benz models in the U.S. as rumors swirl that the automaker might give up on the segment altogether.

The problem lies in regulatory approval, which Daimler has struggled — and failed — to obtain. Following the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board began going over diesel emissions with a fine-toothed comb. The four diesels Mercedes-Benz had hoped to sell in the U.S. this year became trapped in a bottleneck last fall.

After killing off the C300d’s prospects for good, the automaker then sought approval for just one model — the GLS350d. No dice. Investigations on both sides of the Atlantic could now cap the company’s 57-year diesel history in the U.S.

“We constantly review our portfolio offerings and make adjustments to meet immediate customer need,” Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Rob Moran said in an email to Reuters. “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.”

As it sits on the fence, Moran said the automaker is “leaving the door open” to the possibility of a diesel future in America.

While the approval bottleneck has since cleared, Mercedes-Benz’s exit from the diesel party leaves rival BMW with an edge, albeit a small one. Diesels amount to less than 1 percent of the U.S. market. Still, despite the VW scandal and increased scrutiny from regulators, other automakers are having a go at it. General Motors will offer a diesel GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox and Cruze later this year, while Mazda has a diesel CX-5 in the works.

Daimler isn’t worried about sales, however. Potential penalties and fines, on the other hand, are a much more pressing issue. The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the EPA and CARB in investigating the automaker’s diesel emissions, while German authorities are probing Daimler employees on the suspicion of fraud and misleading advertising related to diesel emissions.

Mercedes-Benz first entered the U.S. diesel market in 1960 with its 180d. By the early 1980s, four-fifths of the automaker’s U.S. sales were diesel-powered vehicles.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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23 Comments on “No Mercedes-Benz Diesels for 2017, or Maybe Ever...”


  • avatar
    shedkept

    I guess that’s why somebody paid $32,000 for an ’84 300TD on BAT.

    We are stupid to let CARB run things into the ground.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Mercedes doesn’t want to build dirty diesels for the rest of the world plus a few USA specific diesels. That’s no fun. But I’m positive they could meet CARB standards if they wanted or needed to.

    In the ’80s they built gasoline cars for the US and others without catalytic converters for Europe and the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Building dirty Gasoline engines, torch has been passed to US Automakers.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Well yeah, there are more “emissions” dirty cars in Europe, gas and diesel power, than the US could ever dream of, let alone catch up with!!!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          In some places like Holland and Germany, the requirement exists for emissions tests, but I don’t know how often.

          Our Opel Zafira had a brand new sticker on it when we picked it up for our trip around Europe last year.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @highdesertcat
            Where US States are not doing annual inspections, it just adds to the somewhat slap happy approach to Emissions regulation in the US

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, that’s true, and a lot of cheating goes on, like cat removals, or conversions to dual-exhausts without cats for drifters.

            From what I was told, and from what I remember from the seventies when I was stationed there, annual vehicle inspections are very comprehensive, also tapping floor boards and looking for rust, in addition to measuring emissions.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Not all US states or counties test emissions or care how or if you modify/maintain emissions. Most follow CARB though.

            What matters is how (emissions clean) they leave the factory. US or Europe, they’re only built for the most demanding market within.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @highdesertcat
            As it should be. This cost cutting measure of letting absolute rolling wrecks( my observation of vehicles in California) and allowing a free for all on pollution measures, is extremely unacceptable.
            Cheating is an understatement, who knows what shenanigans are being committed by Garages and individuals.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, the US domestic brands have the upper hand there, often leaving the factory as a rolling wreck from the start, although that’s more often the case with a GM product than a Ford product.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      “Not all US states or counties test emissions or care how or if you modify/maintain emissions. Most follow CARB though.”

      Thirteen states follow the California standards: Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

      However, you are right when you use ‘most’, because these states have something like 70% of the US population. Although I cannot find any numbers to support it, a reasonable conclusion is that these states probably also represent a large majority of total new car sales in the US.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    10 bucks says they’ve been using a similar scheme to VW/Audi’s to “meet” diesel emissions standards.

    Funny thing about that – it could be argued that despite the way the software is written, the vehicles still do “meet” the standards, since the standards call for passing a specific test with a specific set of circumstances.

    AFAIK, there’s no standard for emissions (for either gasoline or diesel cars) when the car is actually driving down the road…

    Signed, disgruntled Audi TDi owner (disgruntled with the EPA, not with the car)

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “AFAIK, there’s no standard for emissions (for either gasoline or diesel cars) when the car is actually driving down the road…”

      Nope, emissions controls are required to work during all operations[*]. Pontiac got busted for trying to game the treadmill test way back in the early ’70s.

      *There are a few circumstances such as cold startup where emissions are higher than permitted, but those have to be declared in the application and approved by EPA.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    nah,
    Mercedes is not VW/Audi
    Mercedes is Daimler is truck is ad blue

    problem for Mercedes, is that a ad blue loving system is still not suitable for the short school run in winter.

  • avatar
    Ion

    On the plus side I’ll be dealing with less adblue related repairs and reliability goes up for Mercedes lineup. On the negative I make money repairing these things. Maybe we should release a new R-class to compensate.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “On the negative I make money repairing these things.”

      So how risky is it to own something with the M156?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Not too bad with the 156. I would get one built in the later half of 09 or later, and it shouldn’t suffer from head bolt issues. The only other issue they really have is a breather valve in the back. The intake manifold has to be removed but it’s not too bad of a job.

        The diesel pullout doesn’t surprise me. It must have cost them a fortune in warranty repairs. They probably saw an opportunity and went with it. They’ll still need them to work in Sprinters however.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Mercedes-Benz’s exit from the diesel party leaves rival BMW with an edge, albeit a small one”

    JLR is Ross Perot.

    youtu.be/rAT_BuJAI70?t=9s

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    As far as I know, the only M-B diesel offered in USA before they tried to get the two models list above approved was the GLE, correct? This probably won’t really have any effect on them.

    VoA’s diesel sales were something close to 20%. I doubt that the GLE diesel is anywhere close to that kind of share.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Will Canada still be getting MB diesels?

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