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.September 15, 2004
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Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars: Highly Successful Launch of Diesel Offensive in North America

  • Spectacular U.S. market launch of Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI: Planned sales target for 2004 already achieved after five months

  • Mercedes-Benz plays a pioneering role in the development of cutting-edge diesel technology

  • New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations support diesel strategy of DaimlerChrysler

NEW YORK and STUTTGART, Germany - Mercedes-Benz has successfully reinforced its position in the United States -- its second-largest sales market -- with a very appealing diesel model, the E320 CDI. In the five months since the vehicle was introduced, it has reached its 2004 sales target of 3,000 units. This spectacular market launch also represents a fabulous comeback for diesel technology in North America.

"By reintroducing modern diesel engines to the American market, Mercedes-Benz is once again underscoring its technological leadership and its expertise in this field," says Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler, responsible for Research and Technology and Development Mercedes Car Group. "Our diesel engines are extremely appealing from both an economic and an environmental point of view, making them perfectly suited for meeting the needs of customers in the U.S. They are fun to drive due to high torque and power and they also offer an outstanding driving range."

Of all the different types of internal-combustion engines, it is the diesel engine that boasts the highest combustion efficiency. Low fuel consumption is achieved in particular by the highly efficient combustion process, making the engine ideal for both stop-and-go city traffic and long-distance travel. With fuel consumption of 37 miles per gallon (U.S. Highway estimate), and a range of around 800 miles, it is perfectly suited for typical U.S. driving habits.

"The great response we are getting from customers clearly confirms that our strategy of expanding the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup with a powerful yet economical diesel sedan for the U.S. market is correct," says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Mercedes Car Group. "Due to the big demand, we will increase the originally planned allocation of 3,000 vehicles this year."

"The E320 CDI marks the successful return of the diesel to the Mercedes-Benz lineup, after a four-year absence in the United States," says Paul Halata, President & CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA. "We are confident the CDI will continue to invite new customers to consider diesels and help shatter the current perceptions of diesels with regard to noise, performance and drivability."

Mercedes-Benz' extraordinary expertise when it comes to diesel engines is also underscored by the above-average demand for its diesel vehicles in Western Europe, where about 57 percent of all Mercedes-Benz customers opted for a diesel-powered car in 2003. For the development of the state-of-the-art common rail diesel technology, Mercedes-Benz invested almost $2 billion into research and technology.

This top ranking is further confirmed by the high level of customer acceptance for diesel systems in this region. New EPA regulations requiring further reductions in the sulfur-content of diesel fuel and the thereby possible tax advantages are expected to give diesel sales in the United States an additional boost. "DaimlerChrysler supports this initiative to increase the market opportunities of diesel automobiles in the U.S. on a sustainable basis in order to provide attractive environmental options for the advantage of our customers," emphasizes Dr. Weber.

Mercedes-Benz has been offering diesel-powered vehicles in the United States since the 1960s, selling more than 320,000 vehicles, mostly E-Class and S-Class models. In the 1980s, about 80 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. had diesel engines.

(Sep 9, 2004)


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