According to the Financial Times, the downsizing of Mercedes’ performance offering could be the manufacturer’s only choice if it is to bring its current fleet emissions rating of 138g/km down to a target of 100g/km. AMG models are among the brand’s most polluting, typically using much larger, more inefficient powertrains than their Mercedes-Benz-badged counterparts.
The FT reports that several Mercedes dealers expect a 75% reduction in the availability of AMG models, which industry analyst Max Warburton claims would be a “catastrophe for profitability”. Mercedes’ performance models command a significant premium over standard cars, but threaten the car maker’s ability to bring its CO2 average down.
Such a move could even be extended to Mercedes’ mainstream line-up, where the firm could restrict sales of cars equipped with 3.0-litre engines, said the FT. This could force powertrain alterations for models such as the new GLE Coupe, which is available exclusively with a 3.0-litre straight-six, even in standard form.
Responding to the report, a Mercedes spokesman said that "Mercedes-AMG is a significant strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz cars with a clear powertrain strategy for the future," but did not respond directly to the comments allegedly made by some of the firm's retail representatives.
He added: "Starting with the first plug-in hybrids coming to the market in 2020 and followed by a new model range equipped with electrified powertrains, Mercedes-AMG will also contribute to lowering the average fleet emission of Mercedes-Benz Cars."
Earlier this year, Autocar reported that the next-generation C63 performance saloon, arriving in 2022, will swap the current model’s 503bhp 4.0-litre V8 for a hybridised 2.0-litre four-pot. The motor will be largely based on the new M139 unit featured in the latest A45 hot hatchback, which is the most powerful four-cylinder production engine on sale.
It is also possible that Mercedes could bring another manufacturer on board in order to enjoy a lower combined fleet average and avoid EU-imposed fines. Fiat Chrysler and Tesla signed a similar agreement in April, which allows FCA to count Tesla’s EV-only models as part of its fleet, thereby lowering its average CO2 output.
Mercedes is one of a number of manufacturers being forced to consider drastic line-up reshuffles to meet the quotas. Despite the recent launch of its EQC electric SUV - and the imminent arrival of the cheaper EQA - the maker cannot rely on its relatively low-volume EV sales to offset the environmental impact of its conventionally fuelled cars.