Mercedes is relaunching its brand this month with a focus on eco awareness.

Global executive vice president of sales and marketing, Dr Joachim Schmidt, told BusinessCar: “Responsibility is one of three parts of our brand strategy and the environmental aspect will play an even bigger part in the future.”

Frustrated at the perception of Mercedes as a follower rather than a leader in environmental performance, Dr Schmidt wants to promote a more eco-conscious face for the brand going forward, as he continued: “At the moment, if you look at our fuel consumption or CO2 average we are indeed behind BMW, but if you look at our development, we have made the most dramatic improvement.

“We were at 186gkm [in Q1 of 2009] but by 2012 we will achieve 140g/km. We sell the most in the S-class and E-class segments and keeping that in mind, it’s very difficult. We have not achieved this message with journalists and the public yet, although at the 2010 Geneva show we unveiled a 117g/km C-class and a 129g/km E-class, so we have achieved a lot.”

According to Mercedes is currently in 25th place for emissions, based on 2010 Q1 European sales figures, with a CO2 average of 174g/km, behind Audi in 21st place with 153g/km and BMW in 20th with 152g/km.

But it has indeed improved by the highest percentage compared with its rivals over the past year (7% vs. 5% each for Audi and BMW) and will no doubt improve that average further when its range expands with the launch of four new smaller and more efficient cars off its next A- and B-class platform from 2011.

The brand re-think comes with a new slogan – “The Best or Nothing” – and a ‘brand star’ that explains the three main brand values: perfection, fascination and responsibility, plus nine subsidiary brand values including sustainability.

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