At the Mercedes press conference during last week's Paris Auto Show, the company rolled out its CLS – the car everyone was really there to see – for dessert. We couldn't have our pudding without eating our meat, though, so there were five courses served before it: the Smart Ad Lib, Smart scooter, Smart bicycle, Mercedes A-Class E-Cell, and a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel S-Class, throughout which time Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche and Smart head Annette Winkler took a good thirty minutes to stress the consumer and environmental friendliness of the brand's offerings.
This will not be an isolated incident, either. Zetsche said "We want to be efficiency world champions ... and we will be," and to do so will require initiatives that were "previously unthinkable," such as the hybrid S-Class and the coming four-cylinder. While there's no timeline placed on his pronouncement, it is clear that if M-B is going to stay with BMW and Audi in the emissions and efficiency stakes it will need to take a sledgehammer to conventional ideas of the brand.
Audi has laid out its electronic initiatives and BMW has its Efficient Dynamics, but so far Mercedes has only laid out a range of different projects under no particular umbrella, such as an all-hybrid S-Class line, more efficient ICE engines, and a new range of small cars for America. We wait to see if there is one particular way M-B will ultimately go to fulfill its aim... and if that way will include euthanizing Maybach...
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]