Mercedes-Benz announced last week that it’s planning to build a pickup truck. The news was stunning, given that the pickup segment is ultra-competitive.
But Mercedes likely isn’t going it alone. According to the Wall Street Journal’s William Boston, the company is in talks with Nissan to use the framework of the company’s Navara mid-size pickup as the basis for its truck.
That’s right, it’s a Mercedes by way of Japan.
Sources also told the Journal that the Germans are in talks to use Nissan’s factories to produce the pickup.
But don’t be too quick to panic. The same sources also indicated that everything the consumer will come in contact with — interior, exterior, powertrain, etc. — will come from Mercedes-Benz. Secondly, the Nissan Navara — sold in the US as the Nissan Frontier — is a more-than-competent mid-sized pick up truck.
Mercedes is not without truck experience. The company’s G-Class is one of the most widely used military vehicles in the world and some versions even come with a truck bed. But it hasn’t really ever built a true pickup.
The current generation D23 Navara went on sale in some parts of the world in 2014, although the US market is stuck with its predecessor, now more than a decade old.
The pick up truck market is fiercely territorial. In the US, Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Ford dominate in full-size vehicles. The mid-sized market is defined by the Frontier, Toyota’s Tacoma, and Chevy Colorado/GMC’s Canyon.
From the looks of it, Mercedes’ new truck will not be headed for the US anytime soon. It will spend its time in Europe, South Africa, Latin America, and Australia.
That means the Benz truck will have to contend with Volkswagen’s Amarok, as well as Toyota’s utilitarian Hilux.
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