One of the stories we didn't get the chance to cover on Cheers & Gears last week was Mercedes-Benz building a midsize pickup. Now at the time, we considered this an early April Fools joke. But when the official announcement came out, our jaws were agape: Mercedes-Benz is working on a midsize truck that will go on sale towards the end of the decade for certain marketplaces - the U.S. is not one of those places. Now this wouldn't be a luxury truck, it would be built for work. This further substantiated by Mercedes-Benz's commercial van division handling the development.
But Mercedes-Benz USA wants to make the final decision if the truck is sold or not.
"We said to Stuttgart, 'We are open, and let us assess the market.' If that leads to us saying 'green light,' then we will bring it," said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
If Mercedes-Benz USA does get the truck, it will be positioned as a luxury vehicle, not a work truck.
"Not every pickup in the U.S. is going to job sites. Just drive around Greenwich, Conn., and see how many pickups there are. You realize this is not a demographic that is showing up with their work boots on job sites. Those sales are taken care of by the domestics," said Cannon.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Mercedes-Benz (Original Press Release)
Press Release is on Page 2
Get ready for the Mercedes-Benz among pickups: Mercedes-Benz Vans to launch midsize pickup
Stuttgart, Mar 27, 2015
- Expansion of product range for sustained global growth
- Market for midsize pickups primed for first model from a premium manufacturer
- Mercedes-Benz to enter the high-volume midsize segment before end of decade
- Main markets: Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe
Stuttgart – Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz will expand its product range into a promising segment by launching the first pickup from a premium manufacturer. Thanks to their versatility, all-round utility, and payload of about one metric ton, pickups are popular across the world and thus have good sales potential.
"The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. "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."
Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, adds: "As part of our 'Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global' strategy, the pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model."
A promising segment with global scope
The midsize pickup segment is currently undergoing a transformation worldwide. More and more pickups are being used for private purposes, and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specificiations. Mercedes-Benz is the first premium manufacturer to respond to this market shift by developing its own pickup. A similar example was the successful introduction of the M-Class around 20 years ago. As the first sport utility vehicle (SUV) from a premium manufacturer, the M-Class completely redefined the segment.
The new Mercedes-Benz pickup will initially be targeted at markets in Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe, all of which are posting sustained growth in this segment.
Mercedes-Benz Vans: Center of competence for commercially and privately used vehicles
The Mercedes-Benz Vans division is responsible for the new vehicle. With its many years of experience in developing, manufacturing, and marketing vehicles that are used commercially as well as privately, Mercedes-Benz Vans is ideally suited to enter the midsize pickup segment and launch a Mercedes-Benz pickup on the market for the first time in the company's history. Current models such as the V-Class and the Vito demonstrate that Mercedes-Benz Vans has the high level of expertise to successfully serve customers from a wide variety of private and commercial sectors.
"We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car," says Mornhinweg. "We will design our brand's first pickup according to this recipe for success."