Benz Pulling the Plug on Hybrid ML-Class?

August 7, 2008
2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC

2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC

Mercedes-Benz might have to postpone--or even cancel--the arrival of the hybrid M-Class SUV, over a dispute with onetime battery supplier Cobasys.

The hometown newspaper for the M-Class, the Tuscaloosa News, says a dispute with Michigan-based Cobasys is triggering concern at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Tuscaloosa County, Ala., where the M-Class and its bunkmates, the R-Class and GL-Class, are built.

Cobasys was supposed to supply battery packs for the new hybrid, but in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Birmingham, Ala., the Daimler subsidiary says Cobasys misrepresented its finances and refuses to honor a deal to make the batteries.

The lawsuit says no other source can be found. Production was due to start in June on the V-8 hybrid, with the diesel model pictured here carrying the burden for high fuel economy.

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