Last year, Mercedes-Benz dropped plans to have its cars’ diesel engines certified for sale in the U.S. again. The decision was made partly because diesels accounted for only a tiny percentage of its American sales, but Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal played a role, as well. At the time, Mercedes left the door open for diesels to return, but now it looks like that’s unlikely.
Speaking to The Detroit Bureau at this year’s Detroit auto show, Ola Kallenius, Mercedes’ head of R&D, said that even though Mercedes’ newest generation of diesel engines would likely be clean enough to sell in the U.S., it doesn’t have any plans to do so. According to Kallenius, there simply isn’t enough demand from American buyers.
“The diesel doesn’t fit into our portfolio in the U.S.,” said Kallenius.
For fans of the torque and fuel efficiency that diesel engines offer, this has to be disappointing news. Then again, considering how few diesels Mercedes sold, it shouldn’t be surprising. According to Kallenius, diesels never accounted for more than 3 percent of Mercedes’ U.S. car sales.
But that decision appears to only apply to passenger vehicles. On the commercial side of things, he said the growing popularity of the Sprinter van means Mercedes-Benz Vans will continue to offer a diesel engine.