As diesel engines have experienced a renewed popularity, Mercedes-Benz and Audi aim to double their diesel offerings in the United States to reel in the luxury buyers. And it certainly has believers in high places as Cher has been reported to have chosen to test a Mercedes diesel instead of opting for a hybrid.
Last October, Tom Brown, a 57-year-old retired Navy lieutenant commander bought a Mercedes E-Class diesel, his third diesel car. Brown, a resident of Hillsborough, N.C., said that he started out with a diesel tractor and because of that familiarity, he decided to examine diesel-powered passenger vehicles.
He found out that there actually isn’t much downside since the new clean diesels are “quiet, efficient, and the fuel is available.”
Sales of diesel vehicles are increasing as they’ve now become more accepted. It can be recalled that in the last two decades, sales dwindled in the U.S. due to noise issues as well as health concerns.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus hybrid has been very successful and to catch up, diesel is now being promoted by Mercedes, Volkswagen AG's Audi and luxury leader BMW AG. At the Detroit auto show, Daimler AG's Mercedes will introduce a diesel flagship S-Class, the brand's fifth U.S. diesel model.
This four-wheel-drive model can achieve a fuel rating of about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per gallon. It will start selling in the second half of the year. Mercedes’ product management vice president Philipp Schiemer said that the company will be offering eight diesels in the U.S. by 2014.
Based in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, Mercedes-Benz is a luxury marque as well as a division of Daimler AG. It builds and sells luxury vehicles, buses, coaches as well as trucks. Mercedes-Benz has roots pinned to the Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is considered as the first gasoline-powered car. The company also originates from a gasoline-powered stagecoach conversion by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, both founders of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (Daimler Motors Corporation or DMG) in 1890.
A part of the Volkswagen Group, Audi is engaged in designing, engineering, production, marketing and distribution of luxury vehicles. Based in Zwickau, Germany, Audi traces its roots back to a number of companies. Two of these, Wanderer and NSU, were founded in 1895. Other companies that soon formed Audi in its present form includes A. Horch & Cie (founded in November 1899), August Horch & Cie Motorwagenwerke AG (formed in May 1904), Audi Automobilwerke GmbH, Dampf-Kraft-Wagen (DKW).
In 1964, Volkswagen acquired a 50-percent stake in the company. Around 18 months later, Volkswagen took complete control of the carmaker. In 1985, the company's official name was shortened to Audi AG.