Mercedes pick-up truck inches closer to reality. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche himself has confirmed the brand’s plan to enter this segment by 2020.
“The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets,” Zetsche explains. “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’ first-ever pick-up truck will be built by the firm’s commercial-van division. No decision has been made about the specific positioning of the model and the platform it will use. The only detail confirmed by Daimler officials concerns the payload capacity of the new pick-up truck, estimated at 1 metric ton. Considering that the Mercedes Citan is already a Renault Kangoo in disguise, it wouldn’t be too much of a strech of imagination to speculate that the pickup could share its genes with the current Nissan Navara.
According to a Daimler spokeswoman, quoted by Automotive News, Mercedes hasn’t decided either if it will sell or not the vehicle on the American market. Of course, neglecting one of the biggest consumers of pick-ups wouldn’t be a wise move. Last year, three of the four top-selling cars in the U.S. were the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500, all full-sized pick-up trucks.
Mercedes says the segment has been moving upmarket enough to allow its own model to prosper. Even Ford’s own bread-and-butter F-150 demands close to $50,000 in top guise. “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”.
Breaking into the pick-up territory will also open new horizons for Mercedes-Benz in its fierce battle for the No. 1 spot in luxury car sales with traditional rivals BMW and Audi, both unlikely to follow Mercedes example and launch their own pick-up truck any time soon.
Currently, Mercedes occupies the third spot but plans to overtake both Audi and market leader BMW in sales by the end of the decade.