By on January 31, 2020

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power - Image: Mercedes-Benz

After a short and troubled life, a Mercedes-Benz that’s mostly a Nissan will cease to exist come May, leaving behind a legacy fleet to serve as evidence of the unusual pickup pair-up.

The X-Class arrived on the scene in 2017 but failed to catch on with the buying public. Perhaps, despite the best efforts of Mercedes-Benz engineers, there was simply too much Nissan Navara showing through?

The automaker confirmed the long-rumored discontinuation to German outlet Auto Motor und Sport, claiming the tony midsize pickup only wowed customers in niche markets like Australia and South Africa.

A number of things hampered the model’s global sales, chief among them the decision to leave the North American market alone. That said, it’s difficult to imagine domestic customers springing for such a product, given the prevalence of ultra-lux full-size Detroit Three pickups.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Nissan Navara - Images: Mercedes-Benz & Nissan

Built in Barcelona, Spain at the same Nissan plant that cranks out scores of Nissan Navaras for overseas customers, the X-Class sold just 15,300 examples worldwide last year. In comparison, the Navara found 66,000 buyers in the first half of 2019.

It was clear early on that the X-Class, despite being a relatively new product, would not live a long life. JATO Dynamics revealed that, in the first quarter of 2018, the X-Class captured just 4.5 percent of the European pickup truck market — a market made up solely of midsize models. Initial plans to put the truck into production in South America met with resistance and eventual cancellation. The automaker claimed at the time, “The basis for this was above all that the price expectations of customers in Latin America cannot be represented economically.”

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Studio - Image: Mercedes-Benz

In Germany, the restyled and rebadged Nissan starts at just under $54,000.

While the X-Class has little time left, customers looking for something a little more upscale than the basic Navara will still be able to purchase another Navara rip-off: the Renault Alaskan.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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25 Comments on “Upmarket Mistake: Mercedes-Benz X-Class Ends Production in May...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I didn’t even know the “X-Class” was a thing. This kind of badge engineering never seems to pan out. People look foolish spending Mercedes money for an obvious Nissan

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      “People look foolish spending Mercedes money for an obvious Nissan”

      Agreed. More to the point, the vast majority of people looking for a truck stopped considering this *before* spending any money.

      The statement about “Latin Americans’ price expectations” has a hint of dismissive arrogance to it and seeks to transfer the blame for market failure to the customer. I’d rephrase it that they were smart enough to see through the charade, were looking for value for money and saw this offering fell short. M-B has no one to blame but themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Well. there were about four articles on this Mercedes thing back in 2017 by Tim Cain here on TTAC.

      Don’t know if you were reading TTAC then, but all this has been addressed in detail before, from the reinforced frame Mercedes had to get Nissan to make where the Navarra rusts in two, etc. etc.

      Check the MB Archives here on TTAC starting and page 7 and going back earlier. Then stand back in the comments for a glorious bit of dystopia from Big Al From Australia and his fellow pickup expert, Robert Ryan. Those Aussies know more about any pickup than Americans, yessir. They know best. Even about US trucks.

      In fact, I’m surprised they haven’t already turned up to educate us all over again.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Perhaps knowing that it wasn’t coming to North America I might not have paid much attention. Now that I am paying attention it’s easy to see why I didn’t. Follow me? ;-)

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Hilarious, that Mercedes-Benz would try to sell an obviously badge-engineered Nissan.

    Engineered Like No Other Car In The World, indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      Why? They sell the Sprinter, Vito, Vanio, Metris and Citan. These are commercial trucks. The X class slots in there as a commercial pickup option.

  • avatar

    Makes no sense that we’ve got the Frontier from 1927 here but they won’t bring over the Navarra.

    And I know they test it here because I’ve seen the same one repeatedly.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      This may come as news to you, but Nissan isn’t exactly doing too hot financially these days. Bringing in a new platform, federalizing it, switching over and retooling your plants to produce a vehicle that sells solely based on being the absolute cheapest option out there to subprime buyers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you’ve already got a completely paid off option.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      “the Frontier from 1927”

      Maybe Nissan could play up our patriotic past and rename it the Conestoga.

      They’ve repeatedly had their head handed to them in the NA pick-up market and are probably loathe to spend the time and money to federalize and market it here.

      • 0 avatar

        I get the money argument, but the Navara has been around since 2014, and they weren’t in the dumps back then.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          *shrug* they’ve been selling a steady 70-80k of the Frontier for the past 6 years or so. I’d wager they didn’t see any growth potential in the segment, so- like Ford with the PN150 Ranger up to 2011- if it’s still selling fairly well why change things? development costs were paid for a long time ago so the thing has to be making decent money at that volume.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Is it _that hard_ to make a BOF truck from scratch?

    Apparently so.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      No, it’s not “hard.” Clearly Daimler was mindful that the X-Class might not turn out to be a seller, so why take on the substantial risk when someone else is perfectly willing to shoulder some of the burden?

  • avatar
    kkop

    With those sales numbers (and based on my personal observations), it’s quite possible that the Ram 1500 outsold the X-class in Europe last year.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wonder if global pickup buyers are as brand loyal as those found in Canada or the USA?

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I thought there would have been enough badge whores in the US to make this viable

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    A close friend of mine with a gardening business has one, an X250d 4Matic. I have had the ‘pleasure’ of riding in it; it is not a Mercedes, it does not feel like a Mercedes but it is priced like a Mercedes.

    On the positive side the transmission and engine and suspension components are from Mercedes. My friend likes it. I suppose he bought it because he also has two Vitos in his fleet, so it makes sense to purchase another Mercedes-Benz product when it comes to fleet maintenance.

    Another badge engineered ‘Mercedes’ on sale in Europe is the compact Citan van, which is based on the Renault Kangoo. The interior is basically a carry-over from the Renault Kangoo but with a Mercedes three point star instead of the Renault badge. They are pricier than the Kangoo and come with a handful of extra options that cannot be ordered in the Kangoo.

    My brother runs a taxi business in Munich has has two Citans in his fleet. They are mainly used to transport handicapped persons as they offer excellent interior room for not one but up to four passengers in a wheelchair. They are very practical cars, but not very stylish and the cabin is quite cheap in appearance. As I said, it is basically a Renault Kangoo with a Mercedes-Benz badge.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Navara overestimate the sales potential of a re-badge.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Not as bad of an idea as the Scion iQ based Aston-Martin Cygnet, but close.

    The Navara has a global footprint versus the Detroit 2 that would consider working with MB (I’m pretty sure FCA would tell MB to go copulate itself) and I just don’t see Toyota going, “sure we’ll share the Hilux platform with you!”

    Had they built this on the GM or Ford fullsize platform, or even the GM midsize, they might have gotten more traction.

    Given MB’s exposure to building tradesman vans and BoF trucks (as in real trucks) it is a bit surprising to me they didn’t go, “what if we shrink this down…or what if we added a ladder frame and stretched it out” and went on their own.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Rebadging is the automotive magic when it’s better to not make a profit or take a small loss than lose your ass attempting a market segment you have no business being in, or wouldn’t make sense.

      Think Toyota 86, Supra, etc, except Toyota could build better cars themselves than relying on Subaru and BMW junk. Mercedes on the other hand cannot build a better truck than Nissan at any cost.

  • avatar

    Mercedes decided to play Cadillac for once and learned hard way how it hurts to be in Cadillac’s shoes.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    How to sell a Mercedes truck:

    -Don’t rebadge someone else’s truck
    -Don’t rebadge a Nissan truck
    -Don’t rebadge a Nissan truck that’s been unchanged for 15 years
    -Don’t refuse to sell it in the one singular market in the whole world that would buy it; the US

  • avatar
    David Loving

    Well it sure ain’t no Ford F150

  • avatar
    Roadranger

    “The automaker confirmed the long-rumored discontinuation to German outlet Auto Motor und Sport, claiming the tony midsize pickup only wowed customers in niche markets like Australia and South Africa.”

    I can confirm that in fact no one was ‘wowed’ by these vehicles in Australia. In a market that has an absolute chub for anything dual-cab, these things are dealer lot poison. There were very few people willing to hand over Mercedes dollars for Nissan product.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ve been up for about an hour and I can’t remember a single car commercial. I come back here and scroll thru them and now I remember the Hyundai ad. I didn’t get the accent thing.

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