The Mercedes-Benz ute is on its way.
Although Mercedes said last year the ute, or as the US calls it “a pick up truck”, won’t be ready for market until the end of the decade, we could see the first concept version later this year.
According to a report in AutoExpress, a concept truck may be ready for the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October.
Mercedes-Benz announced its plans to build the truck last March. It is expected to be based on Nissan’s midsize Navara pickup.
“The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets,” Daimler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche said in a statement when the truck was announced last year.
“We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”
The truck, which may be called the X-Class, is rumoured to carry a variety of small displacement gasoline and diesel engines. The Nissan Navara, on which the Mercedes is based, gets its power from a 2.3 litre, turbocharged, four cylinder diesel.
Even though Mercedes has extensive experience building utility vehicles such as the Sprinter Van and Unimog as well as off-roaders such as the vaunted G-Wagon, it’s never ventured into pickup trucks. In the US, the pickup market is highly lucrative, but brutally competitive. This is something Mercedes’ management is well aware of after its decade-long failed marriage with Chrysler.
The midsize pickup market is currently dominated by the Toyota Tacoma, while General Motors-made newcomers, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, are quickly gaining momentum.
However, it is unlikely Mercedes will have have to contend with breaking into the US market. The MB pickup is likely destined to see showrooms in Europe, Latin America and Australia where the company is as well known for its utilitarian offerings as its plush luxury limos.
Mercedes-Benz was not immediately available for comment.