Why can’t German manufacturers build decent pickups? If you thought the Mercedes X-Class was a good pickup you can thank Nissan. The X-Class pickup was just a thinly disguised Navara. That’s in Nissan Navara. Mercedes odd decisions surrounding the X-Class didn’t help, either. Like leaving the largest market for pickups out of any distribution plans. That would be the US. What?
Yes, Mercedes always works in mysterious ways. Maybe the decision not to bring the Mercedes X-Class to American was based on comparisons to Chevy, Ford, and Ram offerings? Comparing them would smoke the Mercedes.
Only doing well in Australia and South Africa Mercedes had to ax the X-Class pickup
The X-Class was said to be doing well in Australia and South Africa, but those markets are small. We know of a much larger market for pickups, but we’ve already addressed that transgression.
Debuting in 2017 the Mercedes pickup was built in the same Spanish factory that manufacturers Navaras. In 2019 the X-Class sold a mere 15,300 pickups worldwide. In Europe, for the first quarter of 2018, the X-Class had 4.5% of the pickup truck market. That market is exclusively midsize pickups.
Another reason Mercedes axed the X-Class was its price
Another thorn in the pickup’s side might have been its price; which came to $54,000. That’s for what is essentially a Nissan Frontier in America. FYI, the Frontier has a list price starting at just under $20,000. Yes, that’s for a stripper and not one that is loaded. For $20,000 less than the X-Class, you can get a super-loaded Frontier PRO-4X with the Luxury Package. That’s a pretty maxed-out Frontier on the level of an X-Class.
To be clear the Navara is not the same as a Frontier. They both share frames and other components but the Navara lacks independent front suspension and other amenities Nissan has determined we need in the states.
The X-Class, Navara, and Renault Alaskan are all the same
Another problem is that in Europe the Navara also shares its platform with the Renault Alaskan which debuted at the same time as the X-Class. So, in many countries, you could choose between three different pickups that were actually the same. The X-Class was the least obvious as it carried different front sheetmetal and bedsides.
Let’s say you wanted an X-Class for $15,000. The way you’d do that is purchasing a used, loaded Navara for $10,000-12,000. Then, hop over to the local wrecking yard and purchase an X-Class front clip and bed. That should be under $3,000. Don’t forget to get a quote for how much the wrecker will pay for your soon-to-be-available Navara clip and bed.
Swap X-Class sheetmetal on your Navara and you have an instant cheap X-Class
Do the swap and then have the local bump-and dent shoot the new pieces to match the body and you’re golden. Don’t forget to take the old Navara sheetmetal back to the junkyard for some cash. Or maybe trade for a Mercedes X-Class steering wheel to complete the conversion.
The point is the X-Class was way too expensive for what it is. And Mercedes isn’t the only German manufacturer that can’t build pickups. Volkswagen has partnered with Ford to develop a midsize pickup due next year. What is it that the Germans have a problem with? It’s hard to say but the results are on display with the short life of the X-Class.