If you are in the market for a luxury mid-size pickup truck then it’s possible that you have been considering the Mercedes-Benz X-class. Over the last 100-plus years, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have been leaders in the automotive industry but have only recently dipped into the mid-size pickup market. But don’t get too excited about owning a new Mercedes X-class. According to a report by Automotive News Europe, it appears that Mercedes-Benz may drop their luxury pickup truck from its current line up.
A Mercedes-Benz X-class pickup truck?
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz X-class pickup truck is built in cooperation with Renault-Nissan and uses the same conventional ladder-type frame as the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan. It is possible that if you live in North America you may not be familiar with the Mercedes X-class pickup truck. Introduced as a concept vehicle in Stockholm, Sweden in late 2016 and released into production in 2017, the X-class is built in Nissan’s Barcelona, Spain factory and is only available in Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Plans for a second factory in Argentina for the South American market were scrapped early on by former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche due to sagging sales.
Daimler has seen success in its light commercial vehicle division with Mercedes-Benz vans selling about 360,000 units in 2016. European sales made up roughly 70% of that volume according to another report by Automotive News Europe. By comparison, the X-class pickup truck only sold 16,700 units in Europe, Australia and South Africa combined despite being blessed with double-wishbone front suspension, active four-wheel disc brakes, cruise control, and lane assistance systems. Market research forecasters had predicted sales in the rage of 50,000 units annually.
Reasons for low popularity
Part of the problem may be European bias towards trucks being viewed as utility vehicles and not suited to offering day to day luxury, preferring small cars or SUVs instead.
Another issue is likely the price. At 37,294 euros in Germany, it is considered on the high end of the scale when compared to class competition such as the VW Amarok and the Ford Ranger which can cost as much as 10,000 euros less.
In contrast, the Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV is significantly more expensive but sold 29,923 units in 2016 in Europe alone. It could be that European buyers view the SUV class as more closely relatable to luxury car status and therefore do not place the same working-class stigma they associate with pickup trucks. Some of that mentality may be founded on actual facts and data as the GLE SUV family offers significantly better features including more horsepower and torque than the what was available in the X-class. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz GLE400 is available with twin-turbo V6 and electric motors delivering 426 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the 2018 X-class inline-four-cylinder is estimated to deliver 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque pushing the truck from 0-60 in 9.5 seconds. Upgrading to the more powerful 3.0-liter V6 option tops out at 258 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and calculates to a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds.
There is no U.S. market availability
There were rumors of bringing the X-class to the United States to compete for U.S. dollars but as American buyers are predominately interested in full-size pickup trucks the U.S. market was ruled out. In fact, low sales volumes, Takata airbag recall woes, and the need for cash in preparation of regulatory issues on diesel emissions have prompted Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, to rethink their commitment to the luxury, mid-size pickup truck market in general.