They could still return to the line-up later.

Mercedes-Benz’s 2017 United States model line-up will be bereft of diesels in its range because of the complicated certification process for them. The only diesel-fuelled Mercedes model in North America will be the Sprinter van.

“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,” Mercedes spokesperson Rob Moran told Automotive News.

The engines might return to the line-up in the future, though. The company is "leaving the door open to offer diesels as a potential option in our passenger cars and SUVs,” Moran told Automotive News.

Even when they were available, diesels made up a small percentage of Mercedes’ total sales in the United States. Indeed, the carmaker’s execs have already been signalling possibly dropping them from the line-up. For example, Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz Cars said during the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show: “We have to look at that and see whether it makes sense to offer diesels in the future.”

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Abandoning diesel engines in the U.S. might also be a canny strategic move for Mercedes because the carmaker is under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency over emissions from the powerplants. The government could even request the company recall the engines if regulators find they pollute too much.

Mercedes already has a green alternative to diesels in its U.S. lineup. For example, buyers can get plug-in hybrid versions of the C-, S-, and GLE-Class. The company plans to add as many as eight EVs to its range through 2025, too.

The carmaker’s rivals at BMW have been trying to make a similar decision about the future of diesel-fuelled models in the U.S. The EPA gave the company authorisation to sell diesels for the 2017 model year, but the Bavarian firm didn’t put them on the market. According to a recent report, the company will reintroduce the engines into its lineup with the 2018 540d, and the next-gen 3 Series and X3 in the U.S. will get them, too.

Source: Automotive News

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