October 23, 2006

Mercedes-Benz starts diesel marathon from Europe to Asia

Paris, France – Mercedes-Benz has commenced a marathon of 13,600 km from Paris to Beijing, in a demonstration of clean diesel technology. The automaker is sending a fleet of 36 E-Class cars, driven by 360 drivers from 35 countries, which will arrive in China on November 17.

“The long-distance route from Paris to Beijing is not about speed,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of the Mercedes Car Group and Chairman of the DaimlerChrysler AG Board of Management. “Rather, the sporting challenge for the participants is to achieve the lowest possible consumption on the individual stages and across the overall distance. Seventy years after Mercedes-Benz launched the diesel engine in series car production as the first manufacturer, we want to demonstrate again the high level of performance of the modern diesel engine in terms of emission, economy and range, even under the most extreme conditions. We are convinced that in future, modern diesel engines can continue the success story around the world, something which has long been reality in Western Europe with market shares of over 50 per cent.”

The fleet, some of which have 4MATIC four-wheel drive, is made up of 33 E-Class 320 CDIs and three E-Class vehicles with BLUETEC, Mercedes’ new clean-diesel engine. The route passes through France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Kazakhstan to China, following that of the first transcontinental car race run 99 years ago from Beijing to Paris. The drivers include international journalists, VIPs and people selected from more than 50,000 Internet applications.

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