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Mercedes promotes S-class plug-in’s zip

Mercedes-Benz’s marketing plan for the new S-class plug-in hybrid aims to show prospective buyers that going green doesn’t mean slowing down or paying more. Mercedes’ message emphasizes that the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid sprints from 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds while costing the same —  €108,945 in Germany — as the S 500 with a V-8 gasoline engine that consumes more than three times as much fuel.

“Customers don’t want to make sacrifices in terms of performance, comfort or other aspects one expects from Mercedes, so I am not certain that S 500 Plug-In Hybrid buyers will be materially different from other S-class owners,” Mercedes sales chief Ola Kaellenius told reporters at a recent test drive for the plug-in hybrid in Copenhagen.

Mercedes also is promoting that the S-class plug-in variant borrows freely from the hybrid powertrain used in the Formula One racecars that have led the automaker to its first constructors’ title in the sport.

In a commercial titled “Efficiency at its best,” (above) Mercedes uses its two F1 drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, to help promote the 3.0-liter sedan to buyers skeptical that a green S class could offer the same driving dynamics.

“You’ll see that Nico and Lewis pull into the pitstop in their Formula One cars and drive off in an S 500 Plug-in Hybrid,” Kaellenius said. “We’re coming with an advertising message that the most advanced technology in the world is developed in the Formula One, parts of which you can now drive on the road.”

The new S 500 Plug-In Hybrid represents the vanguard of Daimler’s new green car strategy. On average, Daimler aims to launch a new plug-in hybrid every four months for a minimum of 10 new rear-wheel and all-wheel drive models with the fuel-saving technology by 2017 to achieve tightening EU emissions standards.