Mercedes-Benz will show off its planned X-Class pickup truck at the Geneva Motor Show on March 9.
The German automaker says the new pickup, which will go on sale late this year in Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, will be a mash-up of a tough, functional, truck with off-road capability combined with Mercedes luxury.
“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,” said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
By introducing the pickup Mercedes is attempting to tap into a global interest in trucks as lifestyle vehicles. The five-passenger, mid-size X-Class also is entering a fast-growing segment of the pickup truck market.
Mid-size pickups, for example, make up 14.1 percent — the largest share — of the total vehicle market in Australia, Mercedes said. They make up 11.6 percent of auto sales in Argentina and 5 percent in Brazil.
Mercedes is pondering bringing the X-Class to the U.S. where mid-size pickups are the fastest growing segment of the truck market. But a U.S. introduction is unlikely before 2019. Automakers sold almost 2.7 million pickup trucks in the U.S. last year, or more than 15 percent of a record 17.5 million auto sales.
Mercedes, which makes the Freightliner heavy-duty truck in the U.S., has yet to reveal the technical specifications of the pickup. It did say that the top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel engine mated to the automaker’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive powertrain.
The automaker said it is spending about $1 billion on the development of the X-Class truck line. The Mercedes pickup will be manufactured in a partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.