Mercedes-Benz says it can peg the average CO2 emissions of its fleet to 140g/km with technology already at its disposal, and without dropping any of its high-performance or luxury models.
'In 1995 our average CO2 was 230g/km. Today, it is in the area of 160. By 2012, we will be at an average of 140,' says the company's research and development chief, Dr Thomas Weber. 'We can do this with technology already in existence.'
Wider use of stop-start systems, even on cars with engines of more than four cylinders and semi-automatic gearboxes, plus the gradual introduction of hybrids and, ultimately, electric models will allow Mercedes to hit the EU's 2015 mandatory average of 130g/km.
First though, Mercedes has new V6 and V8 engines on the way to help it towards that goal of a 140g/km average by 2012.
Although not officially announced yet Dr Weber merely talks of a 'secret weapon new family of petrol engines' they are known as the Move range and will slot into everything from the C- to the S-Class, starting next year.
Mercedes' two-year plans
Highlights of the company's plans over the next two years include face-lifted R-Class and CL models, plus an all-new CLS in 2010, and an updated C-Class, a C-Class coupe, replacements for the ML and SL, and a four-cylinder diesel S-Class in an even busier 2011.
Mercedes will try to reposition the slow-selling R-Class when the face-lift comes along. Originally, it called its six-seater four-wheel-drive car a 'grand sports tourer' in an effort to dissuade people from labelling it an MPV, but sales and marketing chief Dr Joachim Schmidt now admits this was the wrong tactic.
'In future, it will be included as one of our SUV family alongside the ML and GL,' he says.