The company has put the certification process on hold.
Buyers patiently waiting to purchase a brand-new, diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz are out of luck -- at least temporarily. The company has stopped trying to get its 2017-model year oil-burners certified by the EPA.
Certifying diesel-powered cars in the United States has turned into a nightmare for automakers since news of Volkswagen's emissions cover-up made headlines nearly two years ago. EPA officials have turned the process into a complicated, costly, and time-consuming undertaking, so Mercedes decided to throw in the towel.
The decision won't have a major effect on the brand's American division. Company spokesman Robert Moran told industry trade journal Automotive News that diesel-powered cars represent less than one percent of Mercedes sales in the U.S.
Mercedes originally planned on offering four diesel cars on our shores for 2017: the C-Class, the GLC, the GLE, and the GLS. Executives haven't decided whether they'll return for the 2018 model year, or if Mercedes' American branch is done with diesel-powered passenger cars for good. The Sprinter van is still offered with a diesel, and it will be in the foreseeable future.
Automotive News reports Mercedes' diesel-powered cars are currently being investigated by the EPA, the California Air Resources Board, the U.S. Justice Department, and a prosecutor in the company's home town of Stuttgart, Germany. Presumably, they're all looking for an illegal defeat device like the one Volkswagen admitted to using in 2015. However, no one has been able to uncover any evidence of wrong-doing.
Buyers in the market for a diesel-powered luxury car still have a few options to choose from. While Audi is out of the market for the same reason as parent company Volkswagen, BMW and Jaguar - Land Rover continue to offer several attractive diesel cars.
Note: Euro-spec 2015 Mercedes C300 Bluetec Hybrid pictured. Photos by Ronan Glon.