Milestone for the "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global" strategy: Expansion into a new market segment: Mercedes-Benz X-Class celebrates its world premiere – the first pickup from a premium manufacturer
Cape Town/Stuttgart – The medium-sized pickup segment is global, high-volume and has further growth potential. According to estimates, by 2026 the market will increase from currently 2.2 million (2016) to 3.2 million units (+43%). High-quality private vehicles with passenger car-like characteristics and comfort features will play an increasingly important role here. Mercedes-Benz recognised this trend early on and with the X‑Class is pushing forward into this attractive segment as the first premium manufacturer. The completely new vehicle segment with the star celebrates its world premiere on Tuesday evening in South Africa – one of the model's core markets. The market launch is scheduled for November 2017. Follwed by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of 2018 as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019. The Mercedes-Benz pickup is attractively positioned in the segment in terms of price and is available in Germany from 37,294 Euro (incl. 19% VAT).
Mid-size pickups are already part of a normal cityscape in many countries, especially in the southern hemisphere. In Argentina and Australia, for example, they account for well over 10 percent of the overall market (2016:12% and 16%). And the markets promise further growth. By 2026 experts anticipate growth just shy of 20 percent in Argentina and six percent in Australia. A high level of growth in the two digits is expected in Brazil, while clear growth is also predicted for Europe with 12 percent. At the same time, the segment of the mid-sized pickups is also changing: The vehicles are not only in demand with commercial customers, rather they are also becoming ever popular as versatile private vehicles – with passenger car-like characteristics and a high level of comfort.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class with room for up to five people is therefore specifically tailored to the changing requirements of the international pick-up markets. It complements the prized strengths of a mid-size pickup with the typical Mercedes-Benz characteristics of vehicle dynamics, comfort, design, safety, connectivity and extensive scope for individualisation. There are three design and equipment variants to choose from, four or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and engageable or permanent all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic transmission as well as a diverse range of accessories developed by Mercedes-Benz.
Like the M-Class in 1997: X-Class opens up new customer groups
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG, and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "The segment for mid-size pickups is ready for a premium vehicle. With the X-Class we will open this segment up to new customer groups, just as we redefined the off-road segment with the M-Class more than twenty years ago. Our pickup convinces as a workhorse just as much as a family and lifestyle vehicle. In short, the X-Class is the Mercedes among pickups."
Conquering new markets and segments – significant investments
Conquering new markets and segments is a key element of "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global", the growth strategy of the Daimler vans division. With the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its portfolio to a fourth model series and filling the intersection between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Vans is already very successful on an international scale in this respect with the Vito and the V-Class, and with the X-Class Mercedes-Benz Vans is now aligning itself even more internationally. The Daimler AG is investing a high three digit million sum (euro) in the pickup until market launch.
The first pickup with passenger car characteristics – attractive for private customers too
"The X-Class is the first genuine pickup with convincing passenger car characteristics. It's robust with good load capacity and off-road capability, just like a pickup should be. It's also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable, safe, connected and individual – as you would expect from a Mercedes", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "As a result, the X-Class pushes the boundaries of the classic pickup and makes this vehicle class attractive for private use, too. With three design and equipment lines and extensive scope for personalisation, we offer the ideal vehicle for a range of different customer groups and their needs."
X-Class production: Most recent example of the strategic cooperation between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
The pickup with the star is being manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the markets in Europe, Australia and South Africa will start in 2017 at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting from 2019. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the fast-growing segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups in the world with a payload of one tonne, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
You can find further information on and images of the Mercedes-Benz X‑Class, as well as of the world premiere in South Africa, from 8 p.m. on 18 July at www.d.ai/XClassWorldPremiere. You will find the vehicle highlights here:
- The Mercedes among pickups: The Mercedes-Benz X-Class unites the typical characteristics of a pickup - robustness, functionality, resilience and off-road capabilities - with the classical strengths of a real Mercedes - design, comfort, driving dynamics and safety.
- SUV design typical of the brand: With the central star, twin-louvre radiator grille, powerfully honed bonnet and the deep-set headlamps in the wings, the X-Class seamlessly fits in to the Mercedes-Benz portfolio.
- A pickup to suit different lifestyles and work environments: The basic PURE variant for classic robust use, PROGRESSIVE for higher requirements in terms of quality feel and comfort, and POWER as the high-end variant for urban lifestyles.
- Premium effect on a new level: Three trim parts for the cockpit, six seat covers including two leather variants with contrasting topstitching, and two colours for the roof lining make for the widest choice of materials and colours in this vehicle class.
- Safety with the Mercedes-Star: Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the X‑Class stands out for its exemplary passive and active safety equipment. This includes Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, three driver assistance systems that simultaneously increase safety and comfort.Other supporting features are the trailer stability program, tyre pressure monitoring, emergency call system, cruise control and LED headlights.
- The first intelligently connected mid-size pickup: The X-Class is the first mid-size pickup to feature a communications module with an integrated SIM card. This makes it possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services and to access the vehicle by smartphone. Thanks to Mercedes me connect, X-Class customers can call up useful information such as the vehicle's location or tank fill level and navigate from door to door. In addition to this, operating and display systems that have already been used successfully in all Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series are being introduced in the mid-size pickup segment for the first time: These include the multifunction touchpad and fully integrated COMAND Online multimedia system with hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone.
- Individualisation on account of a diverse range of Mercedes-Benz accessories: This range is provided by Mercedes-Benz Accessories and is divided into styling, loading solutions and off-road. It will be expanded successively, especially for off-road use. From market launch you can select from a styling bar, side bar, hardtop, various covers as well as numerous cargo and off-road solutions.
- Enjoyable performance with four and six cylinders: At market launch you can choose from the common rail diesel X 220 d (120 kW/ 163 hp) and X 250 d (140 kW/190 hp) as well as a petrol engine (122 kW /165 hp). A top-of-the-range V6 diesel will be released mid-2018.
- Driving enjoyment on a par with passenger cars: Thanks to the wide track, the spring and damping system tuned for the comfort typical of Mercedes, and the coil springs as well as internally vented disc brakes on the front and rear, the X-Class is the first pickup that offers not just excellent off-road but also superb on-road performance.
- All-wheel drive for any surface: The engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive with low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle masters any terrain. From the middle of next year a permanent all-wheel drive will complement the portfolio. It will offer maximum performance and traction even while driving on-road with full speed.
- Attractively priced in the segment: The X-Class is available in Germany from 37,294 Euro (incl. 19% VAT). Market launch begins in November 2017 in Europe. South Africa and Australia will follow at the beginning of 2018, as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019.