GENEVA – Mercedes-Benz isn't too worried about the tighter fuel economy standards looming in the United States.
“Even for 2009, we aren't likely to pay much in the way of penalties,” development chief Thomas Weber told Automobilwoche. “From 2010 on, we won't pay anything. That is clearly our goal.”
Since its Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, has been too high, Mercedes has had to pay penalties for years. The amounts came to $30.3 million in 2006 and 28.9 million in 2007.
Weber is betting on direct injection in six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines to meet the standards. They will be used in all the major model lines starting this summer.
The company will also have a start-stop system for all its models as well as a new, more efficient automatic transmission.
According to a bill in the U.S., the average fuel economy for all cars and light trucks is to go from the current 27 miles per gallon to 43.1 by 2016. The legislation is expected to be approved in May.
Sports car maker Porsche just declared its own fleet standard of 41.4 miles per gallon to be unreachable. But now it sees a way out.
“In the long-term, we can become part of VW's fleet fuel economy,” said development boss Wolfgang Duerheimer. But the goal is to meet the standard on its own. The 918 Spyder hybrid concept car unveiled at the Geneva auto show shows the way to get there, he said.