Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Vans has debuted its X-Class mid-size pickup in Stockholm, Sweden. The pickup will expand the Mercedes-Benz product range, as it becomes the first premium manufacturer to occupy the mid-size pickup segment.

Daimler AG said it 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 in key markets, including Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.

"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. "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."

The X-Class will be available with a variety of powertrains. The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V-6 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, according to the automaker.

The ladder-type frame provides a payload of more than 1.1 tons and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons. 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 comfortable ride, according to the automaker.

As with all Mercedes vehicles, the pickup will feature a number of safety systems, including a number that will come as standard, according to the automaker.

The X-Class will also provide connectivity to driver smartphone, tablet, or PC. Examples of vehicle-driver connectivity include, sending 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, according to Mercedes-Benz.

According to Mercedes-Benz’s research, mid-size pickups currently have the largest share of the total vehicle market in Australia with 14.1%. Argentina comes close behind with 11.6%. 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 5% of the total vehicle market. That figure is 0.5% in Germany, 1.3% in Great Britain, 1.4% in Turkey, and 0.8% in Russia.

Based on its market research studies, Mercedes-Benz said it has identified a number of commercial groups in its key markets. Among these commercial or professional groups are commuters in Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa; building contractors, architects, service providers, and business owners in Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and Argentina; and agricultural business including ranches, farms, and vineyards in Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.

The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. 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, according to the automaker.