Mercedes' Bluetec diesel came out swinging at the Detroit Auto Show, only to kneed in the groin by California emission regulations. What was thought to be one of the cleanest diesels available, turned out to be just a few oxides of nitrogen over the newly developed limits. To resolve the situation, Mercedes developed the urea injection system that pumps a small amount of ammonia-based acid into the exhaust stream, neutralizing many of the harmful emissions. The problem is, the urea bladder needs to be refilled periodically and unless there's a mandate set for all drivers to do so, the engines will run with no drama, but will pollute at a greater level.
Here's where strength in numbers comes to the fore. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have joined forces and will begin equipping all their U.S.-slated diesel offerings with the Bluetec system. In doing so, they will set a standard for diesel offerings in the States, have a common, marketable brand and will have massive purchasing power over Bosch who creates most of the components necessary.
Audi and VW have already signed on to the deal, with BMW's CEO, Norbert Reithofer and our favorite mustached-marketer, Dr. Z of DaimlerChrysler, expected to work the details out this week. A formal announcement of the automaker's intentions will likely be made in two weeks time.
VW will debut a Bluetec-powered Tiguan at this year's L.A. Auto Show and we'll see other Bluetec offerings in the coming months, in the form of the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Merc R-, M- and GL-classes.
[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]