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?
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?
Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.
On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.
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.
With Mercedes-Benz entering the pickup market with its new X-Class, BMW has admitted it may be time to did the same. To be clear, it wasn’t the home office that made this assertion. It was head of BMW Australia Marc Werner.
Aussies love their pickups or, more appropriately, its smaller, low-riding counterpart, affectionately called a “ute.” If you’re unfamiliar with the vehicle category, you probably don’t spend a lot of time in Australia or New Zealand. Bastardized from the term “coupé utility,” the ute moniker used to be reserved for models like the Ford Ranchero or Chevrolet El Camino. The term has since expanded to mean any non-gargantuan pickup truck and has roots going back to the 1930s.
At any rate, Werner says BMW needs to build one and the executive is pushing Germany to get the show on the road. Unfortunately for Warner, Bavaria’s receptiveness toward the segment has been mixed, to say the least. BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim called Mercedes’ upcoming X-Class “appalling.” However, he appeared to be speaking more to the perceived subpar quality of the Nissan Navara-based pickup and not the concept itself.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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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