ATLANTA -- The new E-class sedan is on its way to U.S. dealerships after Mercedes-Benz received its final necessary certification approvals earlier this week.
A Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman told Automotive News that the cars are expected to arrive in stores this week. Most U.S. dealerships are expected to have cars available for sale by the end of the weekend, though some stores in remote locations may require a bit more time.
“We are excited that the cars are launching sooner than our planned late July launch,” spokesman Rob Moran wrote in an email.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler said last week that stocks of the 2017 E class were in the country but couldn’t be sold because the automaker was still awaiting regulatory approvals. It was unclear whether the certification holdup was with the EPA, the California Air Resources Board or both. Mercedes officials declined to specify the agency or agencies in question.
“I can only offer that regulatory agencies around the world are taking a closer look at the certification process for all new vehicles which can impact launch timelines,” Moran said today.
Since the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal broke last fall, regulators are taking longer in general to certify new models. During the wait, Mercedes had been holding an undisclosed number of cars at its vehicle preparation centers in Brunswick, Ga.; Baltimore; and Long Beach, Calif. Trucks loaded with E-class sedans are now rolling out of those centers for delivery to dealerships.
The 10th-generation E class is the brand’s biggest launch of the year in an all-important segment for Mercedes. The company aims to increase sales and regain its leadership position in the midsize luxury segment, where sales have slumped 13 percent through May as consumers increasingly turn from cars to light trucks.