German automakers have had some success bringing diesel-powered vehicles in America in recent years, but that may not last much longer. A product planner from Mercedes-Benz we spoke to in Austria apparently believes hybrid setups may be more favorable in the long run, and electrified hybrids will eventually replace oil burners. That's why most every concept car we've seen in the last few years features some sort of hybrid or plug-in hybrid setup while there have been very few diesels.

"Yes, diesel is technically complex, and very expensive. The additives to reduce particulate matter are very costly. You'll see more hybrids to meet the changing regulations," according to our source. We've seen this exact scenario play out with Mazda, which has struggled to bring its 2.2-liter diesel engine to America, citing the costly process to reduce emissions in order to meet California-level standards while still maintaining suitable performance for the US market. It's certainly interesting that this news comes hot on the heels of revelations that VW, the automaker that offers the most diesel-powered models in the US, was found in violation of emissions rules on its popular 2.0-liter TDI engine.

New Mercedes GLE Will Have An Active Chassis

Mercedes has launched an all-out product offensive in the last two years, but the product planning think tanks in Stuttgart have a few surprises in store, too. While Benz has just launched its new GLE SUV family, GLE product planners are already hard at work on the next-generation – yes, a good 5-6 years away – and tell us it will evolve to boast new chassis technology, "something that doesn't exist today."

The next-GLE is codenamed 167 – the previous ML (now replaced by the GLE) was internally referred to as 166 – and the GLE planner we recently talked to calls the platform an "active chassis." He further alluded that the next version could be electrified. Currently, the only aspect of the GLE's chassis that is 'active' today are the hydraulic pumps on the roll bars, he said. Many of Mercedes' models can already be had with an adaptive air suspension, multiple selectable driving modes, and other features that were rare or nonexistent just a couple generations ago.

One More Compact Crossover On The Way

The planner said we can also at least one more all-new, forthcoming compact crossover to be built on the GLA platform. In addition to the GLA, that architecture is currently shared by the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA-Class models. When we asked if the new mini-ute would make it to America or suffer the same fate as the A-Class (still awaiting a visa), he unspecifically said, "it will not be in every market." We followed up with a senior member of Benz's US product team this week in Frankfurt, who confirmed they're looking at it, saying "anytime there's a talk of a crossover, you have to seriously consider it for the US."

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