By Jay Ramey, Crain News Service
DETROIT — Mercedes-Benz, a division of German vehicle maker Daimler A.G., plans to preview its upcoming pickup truck at the Paris auto show this autumn, according to an Auto Express report.
The pickup, which will likely be badged the X class, is expected to go on sale in the late 2017.
Mercedes' first midsize pickup will be sold in Latin America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. It will share most of its mechanicals with the Nissan Navara, although the engines are expected to be Mercedes' own.
Expect four- and six-cylinder engines under the hood, along with a gasoline-electric hybrid that will arrive a little later in the product cycle.
According to the recent report, Mercedes will offer the pickup in a couple of different versions: a commercial-oriented variant with a simpler cabin and more rugged trimmings; and a more luxurious version with all the comforts of Mercedes SUVs such as the GLE.
Don't plan on seeing a “fat cowboy truck for North America,” as Mercedes van chief Volker Mornhinweg put it to Britain's Car magazine. The pickup is expected to be closer in packaging to Volkswagen A.G.'s Amarok, rather than being a GLS with a pickup bed.
“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,” Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche said in a 2015 interview with Automotive News.
The question of whether the new pickup will be offered in the U.S. still hinges on Mercedes' ability to build it there. That's not in the plans at the moment.
Nissan will build Navara-based pickups for Mercedes and alliance partner Renault at factories in Spain and Argentina.
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.