Mercedes could kill off slow-selling X-Class pickup
Daimler is tightening its fiscal belt and it looks like the midsize Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck will be a casualty as the company tries to reduce costs as profits have fallen, according to a report from Automotive News.
The body-on-frame X-Class was introduced in 2017 and Mercedes hoped that it would succeed in the hot mid-size pickup truck market, going up against the new Ford Ranger and the VW Amarok. The truck shares a Renault-Nissan platform that underpins the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan and is built at a Nissan factory in Spain. Surprisingly, Mercedes-Benz decided against selling the X-Class in the largest pickup truck market in the world, the United States. Some have suggested that was due to American’s fondness for full-size trucks, but that fondness hasn’t stopped both Ford and General Motors from recently introducing all-new mid-size pickups.
Daimler had originally planned to sell a version of the X-Class for South America, to be built in a plant operated by the Renault-Nissan alliance in Argentina, but recently retired Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche scotched those plans in February.
Restricting the X-Class to Europe, Australia, and South Africa yielded fewer than 17,000 units sold in 2018. Its starting price of almost $42,000 in Germany was likely too high, and repeated recalls, including a safety-related recall involving the brake pedal getting jammed by a poorly installed footwell light, didn’t help.
Just a few weeks ago, for the fourth time in a little more than a year, Daimler announced that it was reducing forecasted profits and putting aside cash to cover vehicle recalls related to the Takata airbag scandal as well as possible fines relating to diesel emissions test cheating. Obviously, ever dollar counts, and a luxo-midsize truck was no longer a viable indulgence.