In the South, when you park at a movie theater, restaurant or shopping mall, you’ll sometimes exit your vehicle and be hard pressed to find an actual car among the rows of SUVs and pickup trucks.
Despite the region’s fascination with high-clearance transportation, Daimler AG says it will initially skip over the U.S. market when it introduces its X-Class, the first Mercedes-Benz pickup, in late 2017. Initial markets for the five-seat vehicle will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.
Daimler has been building and selling big commercial trucks worldwide for years, but this will be its first foray into the smaller scale. Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, says the X-Class will be the world’s first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle. “Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us, ” he says. “As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design — in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star.”
One X-Class top variant will sport a six-cylinder diesel engine with payload of more than 1.1 tons and towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons. Mercedes-Benz says interior options offered on its luxury cars, such as the C-Class and V-Class, will be available on the X-Class as well. There’s no word yet on what the truck will cost, but the sticker probably won’t be for the faint of heart.
In the U.S., GM and Ford have built luxury trucks in previous years but have for the most part chosen to sell such products as the Ford F-150 Limited, an expensive variant of the standard F-150 nameplate.
Text by Dave Helms