Mercedes-Benz Canada says a delay of some of its 2017 models — in some cases up to two months — is due to the Volkswagen Group's year-long diesel-emissions scandal.
President and CEO Brian D. Fulton, the first Canadian to head the automaker in Canada, says increased scrutiny by U.S. and Canadian emissions regulators affects both Mercedes-Benz gasoline and diesel models.
"VW certainly hasn't made it easier for any of us with regards to what happened," Fulton told Automotive News Canada.
Regulators "are reviewing our products like they've never reviewed them before and certainly this has led to some fairly significant delays. We've seen that on our side as well regarding certification. It's caused a lot of frustration. I'd be lying if I said we're not banging our head against the wall at times; and our dealers as well, and our customers."
David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, which represents import brands said other import manufacturers "are experiencing the same challenges," he said. Adams declined to provide examples.
Fulton said the certification process has delayed several new Mercedes-Benz models including the C-Class sedan and 2017 GLS tall wagon.
"Even our E-Class. With every '17 model vehicle, whether diesel or gas, there have seen delay," Fulton said. "It's taken an extra month [or] couple of months to get the cars certified and get them into our dealerships."
Volkswagen was caught last year installing devices on millions of its diesel-fueled vehicles that allowed them to pass emission tests. Investigators found that the cars released toxins such as nitrogen oxide at levels more than 40 times higher than current regulations in the United States allow.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) reacted by tightening their testing regimes.
In Canada, an investigation was launched by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the country's environment regulator. Volkswagen sold about 100,000 diesels equipped with emissions-fixing software in Canada between 2000 and 2015.
Natural Resources Canada often adopts similar procedures as its U.S. counterpart which has led to increased stringency and delays in certifying new models for sale here.
The cloud over VW diesels has not hurt demand for Mercedes diesels, though, Fulton said.
"If anything, the demand from a customers standpoint is as strong now for Mercedes diesels as it's ever been," he said.