The Best (Volume) Or Nothing
A few days shy of April 1st, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they will build a luxury pickup truck for world markets.
While M-B clearly has their eye on the VW Amarok, not to mention the countless markets where a pickup truck is a logical next step up from one of their vans, the whole thing has the undeniable stench of “fuck it, we’re all out of ideas”.
The German luxury brands have been on an insatiable quest for volume over the past few years, and it’s led them down a strange path; front drive minivans, coupe-like SUVs, compact cars.
There is no bigger advocate in the automotive media for products that have a solid business case, but at a certain point, you have to wonder where the erosion of brand equity begins. In the world of quarterly results and responsibility to shareholders, these new products are a good idea. But when your barista is leasing a CLA at $299 per month, the very notion of luxury and exclusivity is gone.
Personally, I think the end game is going to be the inevitable rationalization of their model lineups, with unnecessary variants getting the ax. But go ahead, tell me why I’m wrong.
Model proliferation + diminishing differentiation between models + declining quality = GM yesterday and Mercedes in a couple more years.
The next hot trend in the US could be luxury OEM midsize pickups from MB, BMW, LR and maybe Audi. Might as well be those as much as anything. Luxury CUVs are becoming old news. And whodda thunk a Porsche wagon? Luxury, high end US pickups just don't have the snob appeal of German badges, even if status seekers love the idea of 'go anywhere', anytime, haul anything, "pickups", and the freedom from limitations/constraints/oppression they represent.
Not impressed. I am waiting for Ferrari Pickup. Bring it here - I will buy one.
Probably Porsche will come up with pickup before Ferrari since it is German company.