The Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck is the company’s attempt to get in on the growing pickup truck market on a global scale. Based on Nissan’s Navarra, it’s a premium mid-sized offering available in select markets that are not the United States.
If the latest reports are true, it’s also a dead product.
Automotive News Europe recently reported that Daimler has killed the truck due to slumping sales. It hasn’t been on the market long, being introduced in 2017. But, with only 16,700 units sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa, it wasn’t shaping up to be a winner. While it did do better than the Navarra-based Renault Alaskan, the Navarra itself performed significantly better in sales.
Pricing was high. It started at €37,294 (about $41,900 USD). Seems like an open and shut case. But one of the key pickup truck markets is the United States, which wasn’t a market considered for the X-Class. Part of that is because of the Chicken Tax, which would require a 25 percent import tariff if it wasn’t built here.
I’m sad to see the truck go. Premium trucks do extremely well in the United States, and if Mercedes-Benz would’ve found a way to build the truck here, I believe it would have done well. The only premium midsize truck on sale is the GMC Canyon, and it shares an interior with the Colorado which isn’t particularly upscale.
In the fall, I had a chance to drive the Navarra in Africa and found it to be a competent, fun truck. One of the European journalists I was partnered with considered the Navarra — with its LED headlights and dual-zone climate control — premium. Here in the United States, those features on now standard on most mid-range trucks.
My point is that X-Class was closer to a proper premium offering, which is non-existent in the midsize segment. The midsize segment isn’t dominated by an American-based manufacturer. The opportunity was there, but Mercedes didn’t want to try.