Diesel has, more or less, become a rather dirty word in the aftermath of Volkswagen's dieselgate scandal. However, as the majority of European automakers back away from the fuel, Mercedes-Benz isn't ready to walk away from it just yet.
Mercedes-Benz head, Dieter Zetsche, told Autocar in a Monday report that consumer confidence in diesel powertrains is still rather high, despite the political discussions ongoing in Europe. He said customers in Europe bought more diesels in 2017 than in 2016, though 2018 is showing a slight dip. More than 50 percent of Mercedes-Benz's sales still come from diesel vehicles.
Zetsche firmly believes Mercedes-Benz should not toss out the benefit of lower CO2 emissions that come with the fuel source.
"We are talking a lot about NOx but I believe CO2 is still the biggest issue," he said referring to the fact that diesel engines emit less carbon dioxide but more nitrogen oxide pollutants.
The executive also said the brand could introduce its own economy and emission information to help consumers better understand the effects of different types of driving. This would supplement government-provided information, and is likely aimed at Europe; it is unknown if Mercedes is considering offering the same information in the U.S.
The plan may also be aimed at ensuring diesel sales do not drop off dramatically in the near term. Every German automaker has carefully calculated its fleet CO2 emissions to include a mix of diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles. If consumers stop buying diesel vehicles, the automakers could face stiff European Union penalties for failing to meet CO2 guidelines.