Abandoned History: The Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Nissan Luxe

Sort of like the Cimarron we covered in our last edition of Abandoned History a couple of months ago, today’s vehicle is pretending to be more than it is. It’s the luxury X-Class truck Mercedes-Benz sold in markets outside the USA. Can you tell what it actually is?

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Upmarket Mistake: Mercedes-Benz X-Class Ends Production in May

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?

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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Already Dead: Report

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck is the company’s attempt to get in on the growing pickup truck market on a global scale. Based on Nissan’s Navarra, it’s a premium mid-sized offering available in select markets that are not the United States.

If the latest reports are true, it’s also a dead product.

Automotive News Europe recently reported that Daimler has killed the truck due to slumping sales. It hasn’t been on the market long, being introduced in 2017. But, with only 16,700 units sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa, it wasn’t shaping up to be a winner. While it did do better than the Navarra-based Renault Alaskan, the Navarra itself performed significantly better in sales.

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BMW's Description of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Is Decidedly Unkind

“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.

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Mercedes-Benz Is on the X-Class Defensive - Is It Really More Than Just Badge Engineering?

Australia’s pickup truck markets wants to know: is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class more than just a badge-engineered Nissan Navara?

“This is hardly a double badge,” Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global boss Volker Mornhinweg told Motoring.

But there’s a tendency to see matters another way. The production X-Class, not yet bound for North America’s nonexistent premium midsize pickup truck market, isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the X-Class Concept shown in late 2016.

Moreover, that X-Class gear lever looks downright familiar to Navara drivers.

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What Not to Say When Introducing New Pickup Truck - Mercedes-Benz X-Class Edition

We don’t know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what Mercedes-Benz USA has planned for the brand’s new pickup truck, the X-Class.

Importing the Nissan Navara-based Benz pickup seems doubtful. The Chicken Tax, a 25-percent tariff on imported light trucks, would bring a $43,000 X-Class’s price up to $54,000. Moreover, premium brand pickup trucks — Lincoln Blackwood and Mark LT; Cadillac Escalade EXT — have faltered in the past. The X-Class is also set to be almost entirely dependent on diesel engines, and Mercedes-Benz would almost invariably need a gas powerplant to function in North America, both from cost and emissions standpoints. Plus, Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class would be competing for a slice of a slice of America’s pickup truck pie. America’s pickup truck sector is huge, but 84 percent of it is devoted to full-size, not midsize, pickup trucks.

However, if — and it’s a big if — Mercedes-Benz either determines that importing the X-Class to the United States is viable or decides to build the X-Class in the NAFTA zone, the words of Volker Mornhinweg, Mercedes-Benz Vans’ executive vice president, might just come back to haunt the three-pointed star.

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Production 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Revealed, Priced From 37,294

Set to arrive in Germany in November 2017 and other global markets — but not the United States — in early 2018, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is, according to Mercedes-Benz, “the first pickup from a premium manufacturer.”

Lincoln Blackwood? Cadillac Escalade EXT? Lincoln Mark LT? You apparently don’t count.

We’ve seen the concepts before. Mercedes-Benz today revealed the production X-Class, a Nissan Navara-based pickup truck from the three-pointed star.

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Mercedes-Benz Dashes America's X-Class Dreams, Says a Premium Midsize Won't Work

Not unless it’s a big, honking full-sizer, that is.

After giving serious thought to introducing its X-Class pickup in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz has decided to stay away from the American market. Why? The midsize field probably isn’t a good place to make money with a luxurious pickup.

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Hmm, Maybe We Should Give America a Pickup, Mercedes-Benz Ponders

Colorado. Canyon. Tacoma. Frontier. Ridgeline. X-Class?

That could be the lineup Mercedes-Benz has in mind for the competitive — and growing — U.S. midsize pickup segment. Ever since the automaker unveiled its questionable-looking X-Class midsize pickup last fall and declared America off limits for now, there’s been no end to the speculation that we’d eventually end up with a German offering on these shores.

The midsize pickup segment has now grown to 17 percent of all U.S. truck sales, and Mercedes apparently likes what it sees.

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The United States Won't Pickup Mercedes' X-Class in 2017

Mercedes-Benz has decided against bringing its X-Class pickup to the U.S. market next year. However, this doesn’t mean we won’t eventually see the luxury truck hauling grand pianos and crystal chandeliers down American highways.

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  • 1995 SC Modern 4 door sedans stink. The roofline on them is such that it wrecks both the back seat and trunk access in most models. Watch someone try to get their kid into a car seat in the back of a modern sedan. Then watch them try to get the stroller into the mail slot t of a trunk opening. I would happily trade the 2 MPG at highway speed that shape may be giving me for trunk and rear seat accessibility of the sedans before this stupidity took over. I ask you, back in the day when Sedans were king, would any of them with the compromises of modern sedans have sold well? So why do we expect them to sell today? Make them usable for the target audience again and just maybe people will buy them. Keep them just as they are and they'll keep buying crossovers which might be the point.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".