Mercedes-Benz is jumping into the luxury pickup game, where profits are plentiful. But there’s a catch. It is not initially targeted at the U.S. market, where customers are fiercely loyal to pickups offered by General Motors, Ford, Fiat Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan and Honda. Mercedes said the new “X-Class” will hit showrooms in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Europe this year.
Mercedes-Benz first revealed its plan to make pickup trucks in 2015. Although the automaker has been in the business of making off-road vehicles for a long time, the new X-Class marks the first time they’re making a pickup truck.
‘With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio,’ Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said in a statement. ‘Our target: We want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class set new standards in a growing segment’.
In terms of design, the pickups look really stunning. The new X-Class range has two truck models – one for off-road use and another for high-end use.
Mercedes-Benz will offer a potent 3.0-lit turbo-diesel V6 engine in its flagship X-Class, that could bang out up to 195kW, potentially crowning the most powerful ute in Australia.
With almost one in five new cars sold in the Australia a ute, and total sales expected to near 200,000 this year, the versatile vehicles are booming.
The X-Class’s top model will boast a six-cylinder diesel engine with all-wheel drive, and payload of more than 1.1 tons and towing capacity up to 3.5 tons.
Mercedes-Benz said interior options available on its luxury cars, such as the V-Class and C-Class, will be available on the X-Class, as well. It will develop a ‘special range of accessories’, such as a bed covers.
Production of the Mercedes pickup will take place at Renault and Nissan plants, Daimler said.
Mercedes, Nissan and Renault have shared engines, plants and vehicle underpinnings since they forged a cooperation alliance in 2010.
For the European, Australian and South African markets, Mercedes will start manufacturing the truck at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017.
The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018, Daimler said.