Mercedes-Benz, Audi plan to double U.S. diesel offerings to better compete with Lexus

Audi A6 - Mercedes-Benz CLS

Mercedes-Benz and Audi plan to double their US diesel offerings to attract American luxury buyers ranging from superstars like Cher, right down to retired Military personnel. Cher tested one of Mercedes new diesel vehicles after trying out, and being displeased with, a Lexus hybrid. Retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Tom Brown picked one up after previously owning two diesel powered vehicles.

“I started out with a diesel tractor,” said Brown, who lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. “Having that familiarity led me to look more closely at the passenger vehicles. The new clean diesels are quiet, efficient, and the fuel is available, so I don’t see much downside.”

After falling behind in the hybrid category to Toyota and Lexus, the German luxury brands are gong the way of the diesel engine. “We don’t have to push diesel anymore,” One Mercedes official said. “Our expansion is being driven by customer demand. The customers who have tried diesel don’t want to switch back.”

The main hurdle faced by the diesel segment, is the image of diesels past, no power, black smoke, and a loud engine. That image though, is fast fading, according to one Edmunds analyst.

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Bloomberg