Mercedes-Benz Reveals Pickup Truck Concepts in Stockholm

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Mercedes-Benz has provided the first concrete details of its plan to launch a pickup truck line, following months of rumours and speculation.

Right off the bat, though, it seems notable to mention Mercedes-Benz does not consider North America a “key” market for its forthcoming pickup. An Automotive News report on the Benz truck says growth in the full-size pickup segment has slowed, with the slack being taken up by mid-size trucks like GM’s Colorado and Canyon models, and the Toyota Tacoma. In any event, the head of Mercedes’ van division, Volker Mornhinweg, says the company is “evaluating the conditions for such a move.”

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Instead, Benz has buyers in Europe, Latin America, South Africa and Australia in its sights for a future truck based on the Concept X-Class, which it showed in two versions called “powerful adventurer” and “stylish explorer.”

Mercedes says both versions will be one-ton trucks with seating for five in a cabin we imagine will be tailored to appeal to existing Benz buyers. The stylish explorer version presents as a more urban-focused vehicle that incorporates SUV styling traits and progressive design. By contrast, the powerful adventurer variant focuses on the “classic traits of a pickup,” with extra ground clearance, off-road tires and front and rear skid plates.

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Interior styling differs between the two trims, too, with the stylish explorer being the King Ranch to the power adventurer’s Rebel vibe.

Benz says the X-Class’ top-end powertrain will feature a turbodiesel V6, whose high torque will provide “high driving dynamics” on- and off-road. 4MATIC AWD will be standard, naturally, and we imagine Benz’s nine-speed automatic transmission will make an appearance, too. Expect a two-speed transfer case and locking centre and rear differentials. That powertrain and a ladder-type frame will contribute to a payload rating of up to 1.1 tons (about 1,100 kg, assuming we’re not talking about the smaller U.S. ton) and a maximum tow capacity of 3.5 tons (3,500 kg).

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Mercedes-Benz says it will produce the X-Class through a partnership with Nissan-Renault, so the Benz truck will share underpinnings with Nissan’s NP300 and Navara, and the Renault Alaskan. Production for the European, South African and Australian markets will begin in 2017 at a Nissan plant in Barcelona, while the first Latin American trucks will roll off an assembly line at a Renault factory in Argentina in 2018.

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.