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Merc 'copies' BMW's green plans

2008-06-24 12:35

Daimler will introduce a package of measures to reduce the fuel consumption of its passenger cars by up to 12 percent that it dubs "BlueEFFICIENCY" and will start with 20 models this year.

The decision to integrate carbon dioxide saving innovations across the breadth of its fleet as opposed to offering individual, fuel-saving halo products as Volkswagen does with its BlueMotion models strongly resembles the approach of rival BMW with its "EfficientDynamics" program.

"Our BlueEFFICIENCY package will also be introduced throughout the entire model range," Daimler's head of research and development, Thomas Weber, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

"There is no great difference to the approach of BMW. We will however examine more closely whether a customer actually wants something. This goes for the automatic start-stop system, for example, which we first offered ten years ago but did not trigger any excitement among the customers," he added.

Weber said the measures would include lowering roll resistance of its tires, improving aerodynamics by shrinking the outside rear-view mirrors and boosting engine efficiency.

BMW has received both praise and criticism from the market for spending hundreds of millions of euros annually to eventually roll out EfficientDynamics successively throughout its entire fleet.

While this was generally seen as giving it a clear advantage versus premium rivals like Mercedes-Benz and VW's Audi, it has been faulted as one of the reasons behind BMW's lagging profit margins.

Daimler's Weber, who said the environment played a strong and verifiable role in the purchase decision of customers nowadays, added he was confident the company could achieve its target for CO2 emissions given by Brussels of 138 grams per kilometer across its car fleet even if it was an extremely ambitious goal.

"We will go through every single model with a fine-tooth comb, nothing will be spared examination," he said.

The R&D chief added that Daimler did not expect the spike in the oil price to be a momentary phenomenon.

"The trend will continue. We are finding ourselves in a dramatic transition phase and we are making adjustments to this in product development."



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