Mercedes-Benz' Mid-Size X-Class Has U.S. Potential

X-Class 3 II

We have to give Mercedes-Benz credit. At a time when it could overpromise, a la Tesla, or come to market with a new product no one is asking for, a la Hyundai, Mercedes has a methodical plan for introducing its new mid-size pickup truck to the world.

According to Automotive News (subscription required), the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class mid-size pickup, which is a joint venture with Renault-Nissan, will give the automaker entree into the global work-truck markets of South America, Australia and Africa after its European launch.

Scheduled to go on sale in Europe later in November and to the rest of the world throughout 2018 and into early 2019, the slow rollout of the X-Class could bode well for the pickup's arrival in the U.S. By allowing it to slowly enter the demanding world of global commercial fleets, Mercedes is likely to build credibility in large global industries such as construction, mining, agriculture and energy, as well as with small businesses. But there will be significant challenges.

While a shared platform helps all partners save money, how the vehicle performs in comparison to the other major players in the class will be key. The global Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok and others are competitively priced. Here in the U.S., the mid-size pickup market — admittedly a more personal-use demographic — is price-sensitive, and Mercedes is perceived as a premium brand here. That could work against the X-Class. We've seen that scenario play out as Mercedes tried to enter the commercial van market with the mid-size Metris. After two years on the market, the Metris sells about 500 units a month — not quite the success MB hoped for. The U.S. commercial van market is similar to the U.S. mid-size pickup market: small, price-sensitive and relatively few competitors.

The X-Class shares many of the parts of the current-generation global Nissan Navara mid-size pickup, which will eventually become the next-generation Nissan Frontier that's expected to be offered in North America in less than two years. That's long before the X-Class could show up here. By sharing engineering and development costs with a partner, MB gets a global product to market in much less time than if it went it alone. Mercedes has a longtime partnership with Renault-Nissan, so the X-Class includes MB upgrades, including the option of MB's turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 engine.

It's encouraging to see MB step into this segment at a methodical pace, working to build its commercial vehicle credibility first. We like the fact Mercedes isn't rushing to market to try to cash in on the growing mid-size pickup market. We're guessing patience will eventually win out and the X-Class will join U.S. pickup offerings. Now we wish both Hyundai and Tesla would take note. Both automakers have made statements about diving into the deep end of the U.S. pickup truck market with much less reflection and thought.

Manufacturer images

 

X-Class 2 II

X-Class 1 II

 

Comments

Jeff/Trucker,

Shut up, you idiot.

@papa jim--No I do not wish to express political views nor do I wish to be bated into a political argument. I have learned that it will not change anyone's opinions and it causes resentment. Bullying others never accomplishes anything.

@Chris--I never express a political view, this is not the appropriate place to do that. I don't want to tell others what to do or how to think. This is not the place to do int.

@Jeff S

It would surprise you to realize how many of your comments are political. Your recent comment that America is on the decline is very political.

@papa jim--When have I expressed a political review? You yourself express them all the time. I don't believe 1910 is very relevant to most of us. You badger and berate others. I have never mentioned any political party or any political candidate. I also never get into a debate about government bureaucracy. Such things are best left off of a website about trucks. I also don't berate someone because of their like or dislike of a brand or certain type of vehicle. Not my place. Either you are using these debates as a source of entertainment or you are an irascible curmudgeon that cannot get along with anyone and is looking for the worst in everyone and everything. I am not going to participate in this.

@papa jim--This discourse is not relevant to an article about a Mercedes truck.

BTTT.

I don't believe 1910 is very relevant to most of us

@jeff s

Most American families were living in poverty, still working on farms in those days. It is relevant. The middle class was born around that time. Henry Ford was instrumental in changing it.

This discourse is not relevant

@jeff s

Papajim is educating you.

Looks like Chevy Colorado,,
Cant Merc designers come up with their own looks?bunch of monkees!LL


Posted by: Chevrolet builds a better way to see the USA | Nov 21, 2017 5:51:23 PM

I agree. When they go on sale I'll include them in GM total sales.



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