By: KEN THOMAS on January 6, 2009
Original Article: CANADIAN PRESS, THE

WASHINGTON – Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. division paid a US$28.9 million fine in December for violating federal fuel efficiency requirements, the U.S. government said Tuesday.

Mercedes-Benz USA LLC paid the fine for imported passenger cars from the 2007 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents released to The Associated Press.

NHTSA assessed more than $37 million in fines from six automakers in 2008, records show. Many manufacturers of luxury vehicles consider the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, fines as the cost of doing business.

The fines were established to ensure that vehicles meet basic gas mileage standards.

Volkswagen of America Inc. paid NHTSA $4.5 million in fines in August for light truck violations. Porsche Cars North America and Maserati Automobiles of America both paid $1.2 million while Ferrari North America paid $1.1 million.

Saleen Inc., a Troy, Mich.-based manufacturer of specialty high-performance cars, paid more than $41,000 for violations involving 2003-2006 model year vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz fine was the second-largest ever assessed by NHTSA for CAFE violations. The former DaimlerChrysler AG paid a record $30.3 million fine in 2007 for imported passenger cars from the 2006 model year. Most of the imported vehicles from that year were Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.

Messages were left with Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen officials after business hours.