Adding a new hybrid model each year from 2009 onward will lay the groundwork for Mercedes-Benz raising hybrid sales to 20% of its corporate total by 2015. The goal reflects the current state of legal requirements and customer demand, while positioning the brand to continue beyond the eventual end of the combustion engine.

Speaking at last month’s 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche promised that Mercedes will eventually offer hybrid versions of almost model in its lineup including volume sellers like the C- and E-Class. This year will see the introduction of the brand’s first hybrids, the recently revealed S400 and ML450 models.

Thankfully, Mercedes won’t be ignoring its performance fans either as the company is planning several new AMG models along with the new 2010 SLS AMG.

New models in the pipeline include a hydrogen-powered fuel cell B-Class, which will be sold in the U.S. next year in a limited run of just 100 cars. Moving up to the C-Class, a redesigned version is due in 2013 and will likely feature a hybrid option as will the current E-Class.

A redesigned CLS is also due in 2011 and will be offered with a hybrid option as well. Finally, in 2012 Mercedes will launch a redesigned S-Class and this model will include a production version of the S500 plug-in hybrid concept.

As for the performance models, new versions of the C-Class, CLS, SLK and SL--all scheduled for redesigned in the next couple of years--will be offered with AMG versions. The next SLK is due next year, while a redesigned SL is due in 2011.

[AutoNews, sub req'd]