By on September 14, 2017

Mercedes-Benz X-Klasse – Ausstattungslinien POWER und PROGRESSIVE - Image: Mercedes-Benz“They build fantastic cars,” BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim told Australian automotive media at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “But this one was a disappointment.”

von Kuenheim is talking about the Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup, a truck not presently destined for North America but one that will appear across the region for which von Kuenheim is in charge: Asia, Australia, South Africa.

“I saw that car in Geneva and was actually disappointed,” BMW’s von Kuenheim says. “Very disappointed.” Calling the X-Class “appalling,” and suggesting we “would have expected something more serious,” von Kuenheim’s comments about the body-on-frame Mercedes-Benz pickup accompanied a number of revelations regarding a future BMW truck.

Don’t expect a BMW pickup to rival the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

Far from describing the auto press as fake news, BMW’s senior VP was fully on board with journalist opinions when it comes to the X-Class. “I listened to some of your (media) colleagues from other countries,” von Kuenheim says of early X-Class critiques. “They said it was very cheap, very plasticky, not very much Mercedes-like what you would expect.”BMw E30 Pickup Truck Convertible - Image: BMWA BMW pickup truck, which von Kuenheim says has progressed into an investigatory stage, would be very different if it ever came to fruition. Rather than the utilitarian approach of the Stuttgart competitor, Motoring reports, “It has to drive like a typical BMW and also has to fulfil the true BMW genes,”

BMW Australia’s managing director Marc Werner says. If the SUV/crossover sector’s share of the market keeps rising past 60 percent, Werner says, “there is also space for a ute,” at BMW. Ute, you’ll recall, is Aussie-speak for a pickup truck.

The difficulty for BMW, von Kuenheim says, isn’t the perceived lack of demand, but rather the company’s priorities. Progressing to the next stage of internal combustion engines, furthering hybrid technology, establishing electric cars (which, “at the moment, if you look at Tesla, is not really a great profit opportunity,” von Kuenheim says), entering an autonomous driving era, and figuring out fuel cells are all areas in which BMW needs to spend money. “So you need to prioritise yourself. What do we want to do. And from all the priorities the pickup is maybe not number one or two priority.”

But Hendrik von Kuenheim and Marc Werner, because of the markets they represent, have a particularly urgent position on a BMW pickup truck. von Kuenheim has a BMW pickup rendering on his phone case; Werner says, “I personally believe, having been in Australia for more than three years, that there is room for a luxury ute, which is not there at this point in time.”

It will, if a BMW pickup truck ever does transpire, certainly be less shocking to the enthusiast system to see, for example, a Hofmeister kink on the side of a pickup truck, than it was to see the first BMW utility vehicle. It’s been two decades since the BMW X5 exited a South Carolina factory. “Now we have an X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7,” von Kuenheim says, “and who knows what else is coming.”

“We have a responsibility,” says BMW Australia’s Marc Werner, “to fulfill customer needs.”

[Image: Daimler AG]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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20 Comments on “BMW’s Description of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Is Decidedly Unkind...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    “They said it was very cheap, very plasticky, not very much Mercedes-like what you would expect.”

    Which would be keeping with Mercedes line of commercial vehicles:

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/e7/6d/d8e76d025e7dea3f415f62cba572f135.jpg

    Are these supposed to be for an electrical contractor that needs a few pickups to supplement his fleet of Sprinter vans?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    There is always the G-Class pickup.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    It certainly will be amusing to watch the success (or lack of) when they drop this in the market. Perhaps Asia and Australia are places I don’t understand. But having something like that in my driveway would scream “no, I REALLY DO HAVE MONEY”, or at least “I can make the monthly payment, so envy me!”

    And it doesn’t even have a wing…

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    “It has to drive like a typical BMW and also has to fulfil the true BMW genes.”

    If BMW made such a *vehicle I would buy it ;)

    * the 2 series?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Seems only natural to simply base it off of an existing BMW CUV/”SAV”. Will it be as durable and perform as well off road as BOF trucks? Probably not, but those deficiencies don’t seem to be slowing down their Xwhatever sales.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    When I was a wee lad, we used to like to say “it’s like putting foxtails on a Mercedes.” What’s next, a Mercedes NASCAR team?

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    No, jmo, when a plumber shows up at my house with a Sprinter van I assume he has a case of plumber envy. Fortunately, I don’t play in that sandbox.

    Can’t say I can draw a conclusion from your scenario, dude better get his work done and get the heck out of here. Hopefully the Sprinter has enough space to bring the parts he needs.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Blackwood Motoren Werke?

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Oh well, if BMW say it’s disappointing then game over. With any luck, they’ll accelerate the process of taking chain saws to X6’s to turn them into pickup trucks.

    (any application of chainsaw to X6 should look like an improvement)

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Chicken tax aside, it seems to me that a well executed Mercedes pickup truck in the faux midsize market could be sold as fast as they could build them in the United States, and turn a profit.

  • avatar
    Bazza

    “would have expected something more serious”.

    Oh the irony, as the clowns at BMW have avoided “serious” for quite some time now.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    TTAC: ““We have a responsibility,” says BMW Australia’s Marc Werner, “to fulfill customer needs.””

    He’s kidding right?

    The “needs” in America are pickup trucks!!!! Hello, Earth to BMW: are you listening???
    Pickup trucks comprise 3 out of 5 best-selling vehicles in this country.

    How can BMW ignore that?
    Over the past two years, I even made a marketing case for such a top-performing, BMW-genes-laden pickup in “Roundel” Magazine, repeatedly. They could extend the X5 chassis, open the bed, and, Bingo: pickup truck! This is not rocket science, folks.

    Bloggers have even done the design work: http://www.bmwblog.com/2016/08/05/bmw-pickup-truck-play-transformers//

    No serious BMW response. Why the foot-dragging? It would no longer prostitute your pristine performance image, BMW: you already did that**! … (^_^)…

    ————-
    ** That pathetic 2006 E-90 3-series was such a dog that a Honda Civic could beat its pants off. I know.
    ————-

    =========================

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