LOS ANGELES – Mercedes-Benz USA President Ernst Lieb confirms the U.S. market will see a diesel version of the GLK compact cross/utility vehicle in 2012.
“We’ve got the GLK coming,” Lieb tells Ward’s here on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show. And the next-generation C-Class sedan will share the 2.2L 4-cyl. clean-diesel engine that bears the brand’s Bluetec trademark.
The C-Class will feature diesel availability “right from the start” when it arrives in 2013. No waiting, Lieb says.
The auto maker is pleased with the take rate on its Bluetec engines, which ranges from 12% to 20%, depending on the model.
“GL is higher,” Lieb says, referring to the tri-star brand’s fullsize SUV. “E-Class (sedan) is a little bit lower.”
Diesel availability returns to the E-Class for ’11 after a 1-year hiatus.
The price premium associated with Bluetec, combined with the relatively high price of diesel fuel, is keeping a lid on growth in the U.S. But Lieb is confident Mercedes customers will turn to diesel with increasing regularity.
“Overall, our goal is to be somewhere in the range of 15% to 20%,” he says. “And we’re slowly growing this.”
Mercedes also offers its Bluetec diesel engines in its M-Class and R-Class CUVs.
Mercedes uses the show to pull the sheet off its all-new ’12 CLS63 AMG 4-door coupe. Its AMG bi-turbo V-8 engine boasts 550 hp and generates peak torque of 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm).
But equipped with an AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed “sports transmission,” it also is expected to deliver 16/21 mpg (14.8-11.2 L/100 km) city/highway.
Through October, Mercedes U.S.-market sales were tracking 13.7% ahead of like-2009, according to Ward’s data.
Lieb says he is satisfied with the robustness of the luxury-vehicle market.
“It’s growing a little bit faster than the overall market,” he says. “Not much, but a little bit.
“If we end up next year in the range of 12 million to 12.5 million, it’s still a million more than what we have today.”
Lieb says he does not expect a double-dip recession.