Mercedes-Benz Eyes Midsize Pickup Possibility

MB_LargePickUp II

Reports are piling up regarding automakers thinking about creating new pickup trucks for their U.S. portfolios as pickup sales continue to climb. Hyundai caught the fever and made quite a bit of noise during January's North American International Auto Show with its crossover-based Santa Cruz concept. Now Mercedes-Benz is thinking about joining the fun.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the luxury German automaker is seriously considering building a pickup truck for the global market in the next five years. No further production or technical details were released about this new model other than it's likely to be able to carry 1 metric ton (the typical amount for a midsize global player) and offer more luxury than current global pickup offerings. This isn't the first time Mercedes has made such overtures, but there's no word about whether the vehicle will ever make it to the U.S.

The article also speculates about M-B entering the full-size pickup market; however, Mercedes adamantly dismissed the idea of ever competing with the likes of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado or Ram 1500.

We should note that Mercedes recently introduced its Sprinter van with four-wheel-drive capability, so it seems possible that it could easily modify a crew-cab cargo van to offer a pickup bed for commercial and consumer markets, especially since Mercedes announced it will be producing commercial vans in the U.S. in the near future.

Due to importation tax penalties in the U.S., Sprinter vans currently produced in Germany are disassembled and boxed for transport to the U.S., where they are then reassembled for sale. If a new production facility is able to accommodate a Sprinter pickup, that could make things very interesting for Mercedes and other truckmakers here in the U.S.

Illustration by Mark Stehrenberger; Cars.com image by Mark Williams

 

MB Classis Pickup II

 

Comments

How much is it going to cost? It wouldn't be anything I would buy.

I think Mercedes should go for it and build this truck! Doesn't hurt to have more pickup truck brand options.

Did anyone notice that the classic pickup truck has independent front suspension .

The illustration above is very outdated (many design languages ago). Head on over to MotorTrend's site to see a more modern interpretation of what this truck could look like...
http://wot.motortrend.com/1503_mercedes_benz_to_launch_midsize_pickup_truck.html

I would love to see this mid-size segment heat up. The more competition, the better the products with competitive prices.

Now, just bring this to North America. Ford, you could do the same with that new "global" (but not for NA) Ranger.

Mercedes is interested in the pickup market............

Must have something to do with all of those 60-80k Platinum, LongHorn, Denali, Limited trucks selling like hotcakes.

No mystery here.

Daimler learned a lot about this from their years owning Chrysler Corp. Second, their GL and G series vehicles are civilized (sort of) versions of pickup architecture, especially the G Wagon.

Nothing complicated about it. The trick is competing on price, something else they learned a lot about during the last 15 years.

papa jim - they already have a military spec G-Wagon based pickup. They also have a 6x6 military pickup based on the G-wagon that was turned into a high buck Arabian bank account dune runner.

A midsize pickup would most likely be based on the Midsize van we're getting- known over there as the Viano oe V-Class.

Will it cost $1200 for a dealership oil change?

The euro currency is decreasing in value and the dollar is increasing in value. In theory, US consumers could be more able to buy it.

And MB will likely provide a nice diesel engine.

@Mr Knowitall,
I think it will be all new to compete with the New Hilux, Navara etc These are "1 Tonners" Globally, min payload 2,200lb, Single cab versions, 3000-3100lb

@Robert Ryan,
Here is what I'd bet the Merc ute will be based on.

Ssyangyong still do work for MB.

Here's another chance for a potentially good pickup offering the US will miss out on.

Well, you gotta love the chicken tax.

http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-reviews/ssangyong-actyon-sports-review-12560#.VRXXZbvn_mQ

Thanks Big Al. Too bad we are not getting the Ssyangyong, it is a nice truck and would be a good choice.

@Jeff S,
Many of our Mercedes Benz light commercials come out of Korea. The Ssyangyong factory.

They apparently build really good quality vehicles, that at best can look quite odd.

Using this platform, with different body panels to give it a more European appearance and a Mercedes Benz diesel would be a relatively cheap vehicle for Mercedes Benz to bring on line.

It would be very competitive with Japanese and EU commercial vehicles in pricing.

I would suspect the Merecedes Benz pickup not to be a luxury vehicle. But, like all pickup manufacturers they would probably have fully blinged, leather options.

All the rich sub-burbs will freak out if these arrive. The Caviar parties on the way to home depot to have to servant run in and get light bulbs... I can just see it now. Honestly I would detest this, but there are a lot of richy rich that would be not be cought dead in anything less than a Merc, BM'r, or better. I buy american, (and not wealthy), so this is a complete no for me.

My 2c,
thanks,
B

@Big Al from Oz,
I get the impression this will be on a new chassis and built in the US, coming from the new Sprinter Factory. Mercedes already exports SUV's from it's US Factory globally

Barrett

Pardon Me, but do you have any Gray Poupon ?

@Big Al & Robert Ryan--The problem that the European auto manufacturers have is that there is only so many luxury cars they can sell in a highly competitive and yet declining sector. The higher end luxury sedans are profitable but their volume is not enough to sustain a company like Mercedes and BMW. The Japanese and the South Koreans have been making competitive luxury cars as well further eroding a market that is not growing. Consumers are leaving the traditional sedan for trucks, suvs, and crossovers. Mercedes and BMW have been following this trend as well with different sizes of crossovers. I think Mercedes is exploring new product ideas to keep and grow their market. Whether Mercedes produces a truck for the US is questionable but they could very well have a global pickup in the works.

Okay, so RAM is reintroducing a Midsized truck as well based on early prototypes, it's only a matter of time before Ford is no longer able to resist the temptation jump in on this as well and to be a Sales Leader in this segment again as it did a few decades back. Perhaps the F-150 and the Raptor is good enough for consumers at this point.

Keep it under $40k, with their 300+hp direct injected V6 or PHENOMINAL turbo diesel 4 cylinders, mated with a ZF8spd A/T, and I'll take one. I'm in the market for a small truck, and didn't want to spend over $30k. Apparently I'm 'dreaming', with the 'as tested' pricing I've witnessed with the MANDATORY (for me) V6 options out there. So sure, if I could get a BENZO for an extra $5-10k...Hook me up!

@Ken, trust me, I'm being generous here!

regarding the relative strength of the greenback, the dollar is stronger against certain foreign currencies today, but that's not saying much. The dollar gained against gold during the last several years, but that came about as a result of a cooling of demand for gold, not because the dollar made some huge leap in value.

To test my premise look at interest rates! Or look at the price of hamburger. Either measurement is more informative that your earlier comment, which you offered without any independent citing of authentication.

More on the MB Pickup, seems like the Australian end of MB has had a fair deal of inputLooks like South Africa and South America to produce it not the US as I had heard
"MERCEDES-BENZ will target Australia and New Zealand’s lucrative light-commercial vehicle market with confirmation it will build a mid-size utility that will undergo testing Down Under.

The German manufacturer said in a statement that the pick-up will be the first vehicle of its kind from a premium brand, providing yet another option in Australia’s profit-making and highly competitive light-commercial ute segment.

Timing is still unclear, but it is believed the German-branded truck is at least two years away from launch, potentially giving it a 2018 on-sale date.

The workhorse will fall under the Mercedes-Benz Vans sub-brand that includes the Vito, Viano and forthcoming V-Class due mid-year, and it is unlikely it will be produced in Europe, instead it could be sourced from a Benz factory in South America or South Africa.

Mercedes-Benz Vans managing director Diane Tarr said the company was “excited” to be developing a vehicle that offers versatility, comfort, design and safety of a Benz passenger car, and highlighted the Australian involvement.

“We have been working on this project for a number of years and Australia and New Zealand have been an integral part of the program from the very beginning,” she said. “We will be conducting product testing in Australia over the next couple of years.”

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that Benz’s local arm has been involved in development of the as-yet unnamed utility for some time.

“We have been involved in terms of discussion about specification, variants, engines, drivetrains, all of that right from the start for the last couple of years,” he said.

“There has been a lot of market research done in Australia. Obviously though it’ s early days, but we feel pretty comfortable that what’s going to come here will be very salable and very competitive and I think we will actually surprise quite a few people.”

Benz has not revealed any information about the mechanicals and underpinnings of the pick-up, and it is unclear whether it will be based on an existing Mercedes-Benz Vans platform or all-new underpinnings.

There is also no word on whether Benz will extend its plug-in hybrid powertrain roll-out to the ute.

An official sketch image of the ute gives an impression of what it could look like when it arrives later in the decade, with the front-end carrying styling cues from the current Benz range.

As well as Australia and New Zealand, Benz says other target markets include Europe, South Africa and South America, with North America set to miss out given the smaller size of the ute compared with larger US-centric offerings such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram.

Mr McCarthy was unable to go into detail about the Australian testing and development program Ms Tarr announced, but he highlighted the “strong relationship” MBAP has with Mercedes global, as well as some of its local engineering projects.

“Australia is an important market. Whether it’s AMG, Freightliner, MB Trucks, Fuso, we have a voice in Germany.

“There is a lot of local engineering going on with the military G-Wagon. Obviously we have got the project, albeit small scale, where there are G-Wagons being sold into the state government of Victoria for fire-fighting use. And that has had a lot of local input.

“So the relationship is very good and strong. We understand the market, and accordingly they listen.”

A number of major car-makers use Australia to put new models through their paces ahead of a wider global launch.

Ford Australia was the lead design and engineering studio for the Ranger ute and related Everest, GM Holden has tested global models such as the Chevrolet Spark/Opel Karl, while Mitsubishi’s next-gen Challenger is currently undergoing testing in South Australia.

Mr McCarthy would not discuss pricing and positioning for the Benz ute, but added that the product would be strong enough to add volume to Mercedes’ already growing sales tally.

“The market for this vehicle is pretty broad. I am not going to say where it is going to start and where it is going to finish, but suffice to say we have got some pretty ambitious targets for it so it needs to be right and it needs to be suited for the local market.

“European utes are obviously different to Asian utes and the home-grown utes. I am not worried about what the competitors are doing and what they have coming, we are going to have a better product.”

An obvious rival is Volkswagen’s German-built Amarok, which is seen as a more high-end alternative to the Thai-built utes such as HiLux and Ranger.

The Amarok starts at $31,490, plus on-road costs, for the 4x2 dual-cab TDI340and tops out with the 4x4 TDI420 Ultimate at $65,290.

Last year in Australia, 17.8 per cent of all new-vehicle sales were made up of light-commercial vehicles, with four-wheel drive versions taking a 12 per cent slice of the market.

Pick-up sales have grown significantly in the past decade, with 175,373 4x4 and 4x2 utilities sold last year, representing an increase of almost 38,000 units compared with the 137,990 tally from 2004.

The fiercely competitive segment has been dominated by the Toyota HiLux for many years, but Ford’s Australian developed and designed Ranger has been making gains and was the sixth best-selling vehicle in Australia last year with 26,619 units, behind the third-placed HiLux with 38,126.

The LCV sector is heating up in 2015, with a facelifted Ranger arriving in July, the new Mitsubishi Triton launching in May and the Nissan Navara following in the third quarter. Toyota’s all-new HiLux is expected either later this year or early next year.

Several other car-makers are planning, or rumoured to be developing utilities that will end up on the Australian market, with French car-maker Renault deep into a business case for a workhorse, while American SUV specialist Jeep is also said to be planning a pick-up."

@Robert Ryan,
Thanks for dropping that cut and paste.

It will be interesting to see what MB comes up with.

VW with the Amarok do seem to be used more as a SUV than a work horse.

I'd like to know the numbers for the BT50. I'm seeing quite a few now. I would guess that the Ranger and BT50 together would outsell the Hilux.

Also, the US styled Colorado will be coming our way.

With the Ranger's and BT50's up and coming facelift and tweaks it will be interesting to see how well Toyota does. The BT50 is in dire need of a face lift. It's as ugly as a Ram.

Also, the new Navara and it's sister Renault ute will add some more competition. The Navara is supposed to be a game changer. Now the MB might up the ante another level.

I was thinking the Renault will take on the Amarok in the more upmarket ute segment.

This doesn't bode well for Toyota and the Hilux.

Ford need to drop the 2.7 EcoBoost into the Ranger and BT50 to offer a more powerful ute. Some will live with the poor FE.

I love the idea of a MB pickup! MB makes a lot of great vocational vehicles and not luxery sedans. Heck maybe a pickup would complete in the HD puckup market, think class 3, 4, 5 and be marketed as a Freightliner like the Sprinter vans.

Maybe MB will go vocational and not luxery.



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