Mercedes-Benz launches 1st imported luxury hybrid model in Japan

Posted: September 7, 2009 in Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Japan Co, an arm of Daimler AG of Germany, released the S-Class hybrid sedan, becoming the first foreign automaker to roll out an electric-gasoline model in the Japanese market.

The luxury S-Class Hybrid Long is priced at 14.05 million yen and has about 30% better fuel efficiency than its previous model, becoming the first imported car to be eligible for the Japanese government’s tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars.

With the Japanese unit of Germany’s BMW AG also planning to roll out a hybrid model next summer, foreign automakers are jumping into the heated hybrid race currently being run by Toyota Motor Corp’s Prius and Honda Motor Co’s Insight.

The S-Class hybrid, which has been available in Europe since June, is equipped with a 3.5-liter gasoline engine and a compact electric motor that is powered by lithium ion batteries which are lighter than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used in most hybrid cars.

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