Ernst Lieb, president and CEO Mercedes Benz USA, says the ML 450 hybrid cross/utility vehicle unveiled at the auto show here goes on sale later this year exclusively in the U.S. and Canada.
The new hybrid-drive system, which employs two electric motors integrated into the transmission, is a product of a joint venture between Daimler AG, BMW AG and General Motors Corp.
Capable of operating purely on electricity or its V-6 combustion engine the ML 450 also can use both systems simultaneously to produce up to 335 hp and 381 lb.-ft. (517 Nm) of torque.
Lieb claims the new hybrid offers V-8 torque with 4-cyl. fuel economy, but says Mercedes doesn't expect the hybrid's sales to reach as high a penetration as the diesel model.
He is bullish on diesel technology.“We'll see an increase in diesel sales,” he predicts. “But it depends on fuel prices.”