GERMANY: Mercedes to push fuel efficient versions next year

By just-auto.com editorial team | 3 March 2008

Mercedes is planning to sell more than 100,000 fuel-efficient versions of its cars in 2009.

Mercedes' head of development Thomas Weber told Automobilwoche: "If next year we sell 700,000 units in Europe, then a six-figure number of those should be BlueEfficiency models."

BlueEfficiency is the collective name given to models that deliver a fuel efficiency saving of at least 10% compared to current models. This year 20 of these models should go on sale, ranging from the A-class to the S-class.

Weber said that all BlueEfficiency models would be offered at a moderately higher price. Asked if Mercedes would be able to cover its costs, he said: "Our aim is not to generate extra income with these models, but to get more fuel efficient technologies out into the market."

Weber said that with these technologies Mercedes can achieve a reduction in its fleet CO2 emissions of around 10g per km. Last year Mercedes' average fleet emissions were 178 g/km.

The first fuel efficient models will be launched at Geneva tomorrow- the C180 Kompressor and C200 CDI. Both deliver fuel savings of around 12%. These two versions alone account for around 20% of all C-Class sales.

Fuel efficient versions of the A- and B-classes will be launched in the summer. Start-stop technology will be introduced on these models for the first time by Mercedes.

Weber said that BlueEfficiency would also be introduced in other world markets, including the USA.