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    Marchionne Wants A Midsize Truck for Ram


    • Ram doesn't have a midsize truck, and Marchionne wants to fix that

    With the midsize truck market on the rebound, FCA is considering whether or not to do a midsize for Ram.

     

    “We’re looking into it. I have a keen interest in getting it done. The big question is whether it should be body on frame,” said Marchionne to reporters at the Geneva Motor Show.

     

    Previously, Ram was considering doing a midsize truck on a unibody platform. But this idea was tossed out due to problems with getting decent fuel economy and pricing the model at an affordable point while still making a profit.

     

    Marchionne says the biggest hurdle for a Ram midsize truck is trying to make a business case for it. When Marchionne looks at GM's midsize trucks - Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon -, he assumes the profit margins are less than the full-size trucks due to pricing.

     

    Still, Marchionne believes there is a place for a midsize truck.

     

    “I think it’s a good place to be. Ram needs to expand its lineup.”

     

    Source: Motor Trend

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    Sure the base work-trucks have a low entry price, but the GM mid-sizers get pricey really quick and use a lot of parts shared with other vehicles.... I'm sure GM is making a healthy profit on each one or else they wouldn't be trying to squeeze as many out of Wentzville as physically possible.  Even a 4x4 LT Colorado 4-cylinder, basically the base minimum for "consumer grade" of truck, is nearly $30k.

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    Does he realize that he just canceled a midsize sedan selling easily 100,000 more units annually than a midsize truck will?

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    DOH, is he willing to delay Alfa products to allow the profits to be spent on this instead? He could probably hit a home run with high profits if he ignored the mid size and brought out a compact truck that meets the needs of city folk. Most city and suburban households do not need a 1/2 ton full or mid size truck and would be fine with a 2-3 person compact truck like the Ranger was or Luv truck of Chevy in the 70's.

     

    He seems to have hit his head and is now the Emperor with no cloths.

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    Well it says he wants one.

     

    But that doesn't mean he can.

     

    I know... the whole GM merger fiasco was all about a midsize truck the whole time.

     

    Wait a minute - isn't the jeep truck going to be a compact/midsize truck?

     

    Dafuq?!!

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    Well it says he wants one.

     

    But that doesn't mean he can.

     

    I know... the whole GM merger fiasco was all about a midsize truck the whole time.

     

    Wait a minute - isn't the jeep truck going to be a compact/midsize truck?

     

    Dafuq?!!

     

    Yes, it will be based on the Wrangler so it will be printing money for FCA.

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    Does he realize that he just canceled a midsize sedan selling easily 100,000 more units annually than a midsize truck will?

    Considering the 200 is selling less than 7k a month for the last few months, chances are it won't hit 100k itself, let alone sell 100k MORE units than a Mid Size Ram.

    Edited by FordCosworth
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    I wonder what they did w/ the Dakota tooling...only been 5 years..update the interior, change the front, put it back in production..

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    Hell if he wants a mid size tell him to read the alpar wiki to find out how CryCo did it on the cheap. The formula is right there in black and white, worked once do it again. They (Dakotas) became unprofitable when Durango went full sizeish with the Aspen.Then without the economic advantage of a suv stablemate and de-contenting plus the melt down, just withered on the vine. 

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    I am with those that want to see a true compact truck back in the U.S.

    ...But every auto exec that speaks on the subject states it would not be a good idear, for various weak reasons.

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    Agreed Ocn, I think the whole Mid size is a viable market but can handle only so many sellars. I think FCA would do best with a true compact.

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    Put the RAM truck line back in the Dodge brand where it belongs! Then do a smaller truck and call it the Goat to go along with its bigger brother the Ram!

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    Somebody tell him FCA is already debuting not one, but two midsize pickups this year, in addition to the pickup versions of the Promaster and Promaster City Fiat already sells in other markets. For the Americas their solution was to build a fwd/awd pickup based on the Cherokee (the Fiat Toro), in half-ton flex-fuel, and 1-ton diesel crewcab versions. For Europe they're rebadging the Mitsubishi L200 Triton, which is cheap but far from class-leading (because it's really only a minor update of the old Triton with a new engine [well, some markets get the new engine, most still get the old diesel], and the old Triton was only a cosmetic update of the Triton before that).

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    Well it says he wants one.

     

    But that doesn't mean he can.

     

    I know... the whole GM merger fiasco was all about a midsize truck the whole time.

     

    Wait a minute - isn't the jeep truck going to be a compact/midsize truck?

     

    Dafuq?!!

     

    Yes, it will be based on the Wrangler so it will be printing money for FCA.

     

    I wonder how bad of fuel mileage the Jeep truck will get compared to the other trucks who have at least visited wind tunnels. It'll be rated 18/19 city/highway, lol. 

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    Just tell them to do a cutaway version of the Promaster City.

    You mean this one?

    cargo-galleryesterni3big.jpg

    With the flatbed it's as wide as a fullsize truck (interior bed width is 2034 mm) and is a 2500 kg GVW rated truck (5500 lb) with a 1 ton capacity.

     

    Then there's the true cutaway (you're supposed to keep it less than the standard 1872mm body width, but clearly Fiat exceeded that with the reefer illustrated). Body platform length can be 2115 mm (compared to the 1818 interior length of the factory tray above). Combined axle load is 2570 kg, but the GVW is only up to 2400 kg.

    cargo-galleryesterni6big.jpg

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    I am with those that want to see a true compact truck back in the U.S.

    ...But every auto exec that speaks on the subject states it would not be a good idear, for various weak reasons.

    FCA has this one, 4.5 m long (compared to 4.9 for the Doblo and Toro), and 1/2 tonne capacity rating (685 kg).

     

    026.jpg

     

    But I doubt it would get better than 2-stars NCAP, as it's based on the now 20 year-old Fiat project 178 platform (Fiat Palio/Siena). There are Dodge versions of this platform for Mexico and Venezuela, but they just change the badges.

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    Does he realize that he just canceled a midsize sedan selling easily 100,000 more units annually than a midsize truck will?

    Considering the 200 is selling less than 7k a month for the last few months, chances are it won't hit 100k itself, let alone sell 100k MORE units than a Mid Size Ram.

     

     

    Until December, they were selling 10-15k units a month with summer months pushing 20k. If that's not an incredible success for the Chrysler brand, I don't know what is.

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    The 200 is a good car, in a field of great American cars and two great japanese cars from Mazonda...and maybe one decent Korean car and the recent fall off a cliff.

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    Put the RAM truck line back in the Dodge brand where it belongs! Then do a smaller truck and call it the Goat to go along with its bigger brother the Ram!

    Haha, and then sell an off-road version... called the Mountain Goat, of course!

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    Just tell them to do a cutaway version of the Promaster City.

    You mean this one?

    cargo-galleryesterni3big.jpg

    With the flatbed it's as wide as a fullsize truck (interior bed width is 2034 mm) and is a 2500 kg GVW rated truck (5500 lb) with a 1 ton capacity.

     

    Then there's the true cutaway (you're supposed to keep it less than the standard 1872mm body width, but clearly Fiat exceeded that with the reefer illustrated). Body platform length can be 2115 mm (compared to the 1818 interior length of the factory tray above). Combined axle load is 2570 kg, but the GVW is only up to 2400 kg.

    cargo-galleryesterni6big.jpg

     

    Hi griffon, I always enjoy your posts.  That Doblo pickup is a very capable machine, seems like.  The amazing, borderline comical looks of it seal the deal!  With a diesel engine yet, it would be the ultimate non-conformist, awkward superstar pickup truck!

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    +1 that compact is what is needed here more than ever.

     

    If GM brought this here now, they would corner compact, mid-size and full-size trucks and dethrone everyone including FORD as the biggest truck builder and supplier.

     

    I can see many city dwellers buying this compact truck.

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    Well it says he wants one.

     

    But that doesn't mean he can.

     

    I know... the whole GM merger fiasco was all about a midsize truck the whole time.

     

    Wait a minute - isn't the jeep truck going to be a compact/midsize truck?

     

    Dafuq?!!

     

    Yes, it will be based on the Wrangler so it will be printing money for FCA.

     

    I wonder how bad of fuel mileage the Jeep truck will get compared to the other trucks who have at least visited wind tunnels. It'll be rated 18/19 city/highway, lol. 

     

    Actually the current Wranglers are already rated over 20 MPG on the hwy with the old 5 speed auto.  This will be based on the new Wrangler which will be lighter, more aerodynamic, and have the 8 speed auto. m I say it will not have a problem matching Colorado FE engine for engine. 

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    Well it says he wants one.

     

    But that doesn't mean he can.

     

    I know... the whole GM merger fiasco was all about a midsize truck the whole time.

     

    Wait a minute - isn't the jeep truck going to be a compact/midsize truck?

     

    Dafuq?!!

     

    Yes, it will be based on the Wrangler so it will be printing money for FCA.

     

    I wonder how bad of fuel mileage the Jeep truck will get compared to the other trucks who have at least visited wind tunnels. It'll be rated 18/19 city/highway, lol. 

     

    Actually the current Wranglers are already rated over 20 MPG on the hwy with the old 5 speed auto.  This will be based on the new Wrangler which will be lighter, more aerodynamic, and have the 8 speed auto. m I say it will not have a problem matching Colorado FE engine for engine. 

     

    No chance it would match the Colorado if they are working on similar drivelines. I mean even if the Wrangler truck had the newest 8 or 9spd from the FCA camp you're still talking about pushing a brick through air. I highly doubt they will be ballsy enough to change the look of the new Wrangler enough to be considered "aero efficient" by anybody's standards. 

     

    I can't imagine it changing much from the current Wrangler's 16/21. I would definitely expect improvements but not a whole lot. 17/24 in its most efficient trim. Now if it has a 2WD version that would get another little bump over the Wranglers but I just don't see a way that this will match a Colorado's 18/26 in the v6 at all. 

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      FCA US LLC Sales Summary October 2016 Reflects New Methodology                        Month Sales Vol % CYTD Sales Vol % Model Curr Yr Pr Yr Change Curr Yr Pr Yr Change Compass 6,207 6,787 -9% 79,123 54,979 44% Patriot 9,510 9,369 2% 105,549 99,035 7% Wrangler 14,469 15,632 -7% 163,096 172,887 -6% Cherokee 13,531 17,533 -23% 171,877 177,874 -3% Grand Cherokee 17,867 16,405 9% 171,793 158,084 9% Renegade 7,242 7,979 -9% 84,494 44,492 90% JEEP BRAND 68,826 73,705 -7% 775,932 707,351 10% 200 2,843 9,066 -69% 51,802 147,602 -65% 300 3,051 4,311 -29% 47,091 44,121 7% Town & Country 529 12,286 -96% 58,455 74,371 -21% Pacifica 7,758 0 New 43,330 0 New CHRYSLER BRAND 14,181 25,663 -45% 200,678 266,094 -25% Dart 2,407 6,520 -63% 39,674 74,840 -47% Avenger 0 22 -100% 44 1,279 -97% Charger 6,792 8,936 -24% 79,062 81,519 -3% Challenger 4,127 5,288 -22% 55,268 57,516 -4% Viper 62 61 2% 509 582 -13% Journey 11,912 10,198 17% 89,858 92,233 -3% Caravan 11,563 13,524 -15% 114,295 78,907 45% Durango 4,651 5,134 -9% 57,744 51,253 13% DODGE  BRAND 41,514 49,683 -16% 436,454 438,129 0% Ram P/U 43,891 41,042 7% 404,977 374,579 8% Cargo Van 0 9 -100% 21 2,155 -99% ProMaster Van 4,500 2,349 92% 31,044 21,574 44% ProMaster City 1,052 925 14% 13,701 6,294 118% RAM BRAND 49,443 44,325 12% 449,743 404,602 11% Giulia 0 0 New 7 0 New Alfa 4C  23 58 -60% 434 569 -24% ALFA BRAND 23 58 -60% 441 569 -22% 500 1,276 1,180 8% 12,879 21,269 -39% 500L 119 290 -59% 2,920 7,044 -59% 500X 783 1,994 -61% 10,047 6,164 63% Spider 444 0 New 1,875 0 New FIAT BRAND 2,622 3,464 -24% 27,721 34,477 -20% TOTAL FCA US LLC 176,609 196,898 -10% 1,890,969 1,851,222 2%                   Total Car & MPV 40,994 61,542 -33% 507,645 589,619 -14%     Total UV's 86,172 91,031 -5% 933,581 857,001 9%     Total Truck & LCV 49,443 44,325 12% 449,743 404,602 11%
    • By William Maley
      Ram Trucks is planning to build the current Ram 1500 well into 2019, even after it launches a redesigned model in 2018.
      Sources tell Automotive News the decision comes down to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles making a play for fleet customers by offering a lower-priced model in the form of the last-generation 1500. This move also allows dealers to have ample supplies of trucks - both old and new.
      "Going into 2018, having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers' demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins," said FCA CFO Richard Palmer on a conference call last week.
      Sources say production of the current-generation Ram 1500 will continue at FCA's Warren Truck Assembly in Michigan and Saltillo, Mexico till 2019. The plan is for 200,000 trucks to be built in 2018, with another 65,000 built for 2019.
      An FCA spokesman declined to comment.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    • By William Maley
      Ram Trucks is planning to build the current Ram 1500 well into 2019, even after it launches a redesigned model in 2018.
      Sources tell Automotive News the decision comes down to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles making a play for fleet customers by offering a lower-priced model in the form of the last-generation 1500. This move also allows dealers to have ample supplies of trucks - both old and new.
      "Going into 2018, having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers' demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins," said FCA CFO Richard Palmer on a conference call last week.
      Sources say production of the current-generation Ram 1500 will continue at FCA's Warren Truck Assembly in Michigan and Saltillo, Mexico till 2019. The plan is for 200,000 trucks to be built in 2018, with another 65,000 built for 2019.
      An FCA spokesman declined to comment.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      Previous Page Next Page Mercedes-Benz has unveiled two concept versions of the upcoming X-Class pickup. 
      The X-Class Stylish Explorer is likely a preview of the production model that we'll be seeing next year. It features a massive Mercedes-Benz grille, flared-out wheel fenders, 22-inch wheels, and a set of sporty bumpers. The X-Class Powerful Adventurer comes with a raised ride height, winches on the front and rear bumpers, meaty off-road tires, and interesting design for the tailgate. The interior features a lot of design ideas and pieces from other Mercedes models such as the vents for the HVAC system and protruding screen from the center stack. The Powerful Adventure features a fire extinguisher as well because why not.
      The concepts feature a V6 turbodiesel engine and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive paired with a transfer case with low gears and two differential locks - this combination will be available on higher trims. Lower trim trucks will get turbodiesel four-cylinders and the choice of either rear or all-wheel drive. Under the skin, the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara and uses the same chassis, albeit with some slight changes.
      “With the X-class, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target is to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The pick-up will set new standards in a growing segment,” said Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche in a statement.
      The X-Class will be built alongside the Navara and Renault Alaskan in factories in both Spain and Argentina. Sales are expected to begin next year in Europe, with other key markets such as Australia and South Africa following thereafter. A decision on whether or not the U.S. will get the X-Class is still up in the air at the moment.
      Source: Mercedes-Benz
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Mercedes-Benz Vans expands product range: Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS – First outlook on the new pickup bearing the three-pointed star
      Product range expansion for sustainable global growth Market launch in late 2017 Key markets Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia Investments in the high nine figures Two design variants, one message: the first true premium pickup The X-Class: powerful engine, high ride comfort, and exemplary safety Stockholm/Stuttgart – With the Concept X-CLASS, Mercedes-Benz Vans gives a concrete outlook on its new pickup, the X-Class, in Stockholm. The first premium pickup will combine the best of two worlds. This is demonstrated impressively by Mercedes-Benz with two design variants of the concept car. The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer illustrates that the future X-Class will possess all the strengths of a classic pickup – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability. The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer goes a step further and shows what will distinguish the pickup bearing the Mercedes star. The X-Class will be a true Mercedes from the hallmark brand design and comfort to the driving dynamics and safety. This will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups, and it will make the tough one-ton pickup with seating for up to five persons the first to be attractive as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle.
      With the pickup, Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its product range with a fourth model series. At the same time, the brand bearing the three-pointed star will become the first premium manufacturer to occupy the promising segment of mid-size pickups. Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch. It will be launched in late 2017 under the name Mercedes-Benz X-Class. The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.
      Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
      "We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world's first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before."
      Changing segment: Mercedes-Benz first premium manufacturer of a pickup
      Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere "workhorses". Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for a simultaneous private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. The percentage of privately used pickups has been growing steadily for years. Accordingly, the double cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car. A similar development took place in the segment of off-road vehicles some 20 years ago. Back then, Mercedes-Benz was the first premium manufacturer to launch a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the M-Class, and completely redefined the off-road segment – with lasting success.
      "The Concept X-CLASS design variants interpret the hallmark brand design idiom of our SUVs in a most expressive form, and embody the dichotomy of our design philosophy: they are hot and cool", says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. "With its progressive design the powerful adventurer expresses cool modernity and thirst for adventure, while the stylish explorer on the other hand uses pure emotion to provide a tangible experience of modern beauty."
      Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer: progressive design with SUV looks
      The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, painted in a cool elegant white metallic, impressively demonstrates how the Mercedes-Benz pickup will make a decidedly stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment. The contrast of emotionally appealing and yet purist surface treatment ("hot") and technically precise, innovative and clever details ("cool") reinterprets the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The athletic design lends the concept car a markedly expressive and dynamic appearance. The distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive powerdome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The classic SUV front apron and the strongly flared wheel arches put even more emphasis on the sense of width, and give the vehicle an even more solid stance on the road. At the same time, the front cites the single-louvre grille with centrally positioned Mercedes star, the face of the elegant Mercedes-Benz coupés.
      The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish give the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer a towering and superior stance. The running boards are integrated into the bodywork and emphasise the athletically sculpted body. Depending on the angle of the incoming light, the paintwork developed specifically for this concept car lends the urban pickup a look that gives the athletic profile even more emotional appeal.
      The extremely short front overhang, the very long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify the focus placed on driving dynamics. The rear of both concept cars sports the hallmark chromed SUV trim at the lower edge, and, as a distinctive feature, a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate. It points to the unique character of the future pickup.
      Stylish interior with a high level of operating and display comfort
      The interior of the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer is an equally emotional and stylish statement – characterised by an intriguing contrast of warm and cool colours, as well as by high-quality materials. The world of colours and materials translates the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. The sensual touch and feel of the brown, very natural nubuck leather on the seats provides a cosy feel. This warm colour, which is also found on the dashboard, is combined with cool white nappa leather. The trim made of open-pore smoked oak contrasts with the brushed and polished aluminium trim elements. The world of modern luxury is realised in a highly stylish fashion.
      The modern flair is further boosted by round air vents, the free-standing high-resolution central display as well as the central controller and multifunctional touchpad. Similar to a smartphone, all telematics functions can be controlled with the touchpad by using gestures or by entering letters and characters. Mercedes-Benz thus introduces the most modern control and display concept in the segment of mid-size pickups. At the same time, the characteristics and functionalities typical in the pickup segment have been retained, such as the handbrake in the centre console.
      Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer: the redefinition of toughness
      Complementing the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, the second concept car focuses on the classic traits of a pickup. The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer with a lemonax metallic paint finish stages toughness, durability, and off-road capability. As a result, it impressively underscores the fact that the future Mercedes-Benz pickup will combine comfort and style with the basic virtues of this vehicle category.
      The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer towers above it all with a height of 1.90 metres. Large tyres of size 35x11.50, the huge ground clearance, and the athletic design instil respect even at first glance. The brand's hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the superior off-road aesthetics. An electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear are further indications of the toughness and power of the future pickup.
      With its progressive design the concept car exudes independence and thirst for adventure in their purest forms. This feel continues in the interior. Matte carbon elements in the exterior and interior, metallic brushed surfaces, and a bold colour scheme lend the vehicle a sense of power. The lemonax metallic exterior paint finish is perfectly tailored to the interior colour highlights. The colour and material concept underscores the outdoor look with glossy black nappa leather and the use of carbon-style black embossed leather surfaces. To ensure the seats provide lateral support in all handling situations and in any terrain, the seat side bolsters are trimmed with black leather that offers extremely good grip and has a pleasantly soft touch and feel.
      The X-Class: powerful engine, high ride comfort, and exemplary safety
      As is the norm for Mercedes-Benz, customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment scopes to customise the exterior and interior. In addition, the premium brand will develop a special range of accessories for the pickup, for example bed covers and various styling elements. Thanks to the tried and proven modular strategy, a host of interior components that customers know and appreciate from the C-Class and V-Class will be found in the X-Class – from the perfectly finished high-quality materials and the infotainment system to the ergonomic seating comfort. As a result, the pickup will offer the "welcome home" feeling typical of the brand, and define a new level of comfort and value appeal in the segment of mid-size pickups.
      The X-Class will also set new standards in the segment with regard to connected life. Thanks to the communication module with on-board SIM card, it will be possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services. Drivers can connect with their pickup by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from anywhere. For example, to send navigation destinations to the vehicle or query where the pickup is parked and how much fuel is in the tank. In addition to these optional remote online services, standard services such as accident recovery, maintenance management and breakdown management will also be available.
      Variety will likewise distinguish the engine range. The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The high-torque engine will provide high driving dynamics on the road and off the road. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. The traction system and the electrically operated on-demand differential locks channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines.
      The powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible. Enough power for transporting some four cubic metres of firewood on the pickup bed and a sail boat hooked up to the trailer coupling, for example. At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs, and a precisely calibrated spring/damper set-up will ensure a high ride comfort – on the road and off the road. The pickup bearing the three-pointed star will impress with precise steering, a comfortable ride, and agile cornering. It will absorb bumps in a superior fashion, making it a perfect fit for the urban environment.
      Like all Mercedes vehicles, the pickup will be distinguished by exemplary safety. Modern driver assistance systems based on cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors will support and relieve the driver in many situations, and in so doing equally enhance safety and comfort. A host of assistance systems will already come as standard.
      The Mercedes among pickups: focus on five customer groups
      The X-Class will combine the strengths of a pickup with the value appeal, comfort, driving fun, and safety that distinguish the vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. As a result, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will bridge the gap between commercial and private and between urban and rural use. It will consequently appeal not only to pickup owners wishing for more car-like characteristics, performance, safety, and comfort, but also and above all to people who drive a passenger car, SUV or van. Extensive market research studies conducted by Mercedes-Benz with potential customers in the target markets bear this out.
      Mid-size pickups currently have the largest share of the total vehicle market in Australia with 14.1 percent. Argentina comes close behind with 11.6 percent. This means that in these countries, one out of every eight registered vehicles is a pickup in the one-ton category. In Brazil, mid-size pickups have a share of almost five percent of the total vehicle market. That figure is 0.5 percent in Germany, 1.3 percent in Great Britain, 1.4 percent in Turkey, and 0.8 percent in Russia.
      Based on its market research studies, Mercedes-Benz has identified five customer groups for the X-Class, which are of different relevance in the individual countries.
      One important target group is constituted by families with an active lifestyle and an affinity to premium products. They use the pickup mostly for commuting to work, for shopping, taking the kids to school or sports activities, for weekend trips, and vacation. The key markets are Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa.
      Another target group for the X-Class are successful adventurers, who live in an urban environment and participate in outdoor sports such as skiing or riding jet skis, or have their own boat. They need a comfortable premium vehicle for everyday use that at the same time offers sufficient cargo space and towing capacity for their recreational equipment. The top markets are Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany.
      In addition, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will have the potential to inspire trend-conscious individualists with an affinity to premium products. They lead an independent lifestyle and want a vehicle outside the mainstream that underscores their personality and status with a unique design. Independent individualists use the pickup as an "everyday vehicle" in the city, for evening and weekend activities, and for sporting events. The key markets for this target group are Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.
      The fourth customer group comprises business owners such as building contractors, architects, and service providers who want to use their pickup for commercial and private purposes: that is as a comfortable company car for customer meetings, which is equally perfect for transporting customers and employees as well as tools and building materials, as an "everyday vehicle", and as a vehicle for weekend activities. Significant markets for business owners are Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and Argentina.
      Landowners, such as cattle ranchers in Argentina, soy bean farmers in Brazil or vintners in South Africa, also use their pickup for commercial and private purposes. They need a vehicle that on the one hand takes them through unpaved terrain and has sufficient cargo and towing capacity. On the other hand, it must be suitable for driving to customer and supplier meetings as well as for use as an "everyday vehicle" for the family.
      Production cooperation with Renault-Nissan
      The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price. The pickup will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.
      With the X-Class, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance expand their strategic cooperation which began six years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the fast-growing segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups with a payload of one ton in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
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