Report: Mercedes-Benz Considered Launching a Pickup – New T Class?

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A new report from Road and Track says that Mercedes-Benz thought about offering a pickup truck. This luxury truck would have been an interesting addition to the upscale pickup offerings in North America. Could they reconsider?

Report: Mercedes-Benz Considered a Pickup - New T Class?

This Mercedes-Benz truck tailgate was in the works according to sources. The idea was killed right before the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. Could Lexus offer a model?

The story in Road and Track says that the new Mercedez Benz would have been on the market by the end of 2016. It was to be two different pickups: a full-size version based on the Nissan Titan and a mid-size version based on the next-gen Nissan Frontier. Apparently the drive to develop it was based on VW’s success with the Amarok. Doing the heavy lifting was parent company Daimler which negotiated with Nissan (they have an alliance) to use the “truck architectures, complete with chassis, all-wheel-drive systems and suspension systems, though the latter would have received Mercedes-specific tuning,” according to Road and Track.

With the truck from Nissan, Mercedes-Benz was going to give it specific-tuning and new interior materials. The exterior changes would have been regulated to just the nose and a badge on the tailgate. It seems that this plan was seriously considered with Benz engineers already going over the trucks looking at what they needed to do.

This news comes from last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. At the show, Daimler officials admitted to killing off the two planned Mercedes-Benz’s pickups.

What caused the problem? Engine offerings. Mercedes-Benz wanted a wide range of engine variants. They felt that Nissan just wasn’t able to engineer all the variants. “Mercedes-Benz sources said that the two-pickup program would only have worked if it had been allowed to tailor the engines for market demands.” This makes sense to many truck market observers since the variety of engines and cab sizes is a big part of Nissan’s pickups lack of sales.

Daimler also created an issue when it wanted to pre-engineer a lighter version of the Frontier for potential hybrid and plug-in versions. This created an issue for Nissan since neither one of these variants were in their original plans.

The Marketing Plan

Mercedez-Benz pickups would have been aimed at higher dollar tradesman and would have been offered in the light commercial division with several cab configurations. It would have been an ideal way for Daimler to quickly double their sales by 2020 (a company goal). Sources told R&D that offering a pickup isn’t entirely dead and they could work out another plan with a different supplier.

Talks of such a luxury truck have been around for a long-time really and the Mercedes-Benz variety has been on again and off again as the market has changed. Daimler has had discussions recently with VW to re-badge the Amarok, but it seems that to has been shelved. There are other market and supplier complications currently that are causing delays of future plans.

What happens now?

Apparently, Nissan sources are saying that their luxury brand, Infiniti, will be given the green light to develop a luxury truck.

Road and Track says an anonymous Infiniti source told them that; “We know about their pickup, but as long as they price it more enthusiastically than ours, we don’t think it will impact our plans.”

Why a Luxury Truck?

Many pickup truck buyers and owners would think the idea of a luxury truck to moronic, yet when you really look at the business side of things, it makes a lot of sense. The largest growing vehicle market in North America is pickup trucks especially higher trim models (see: fancier).  Also, consider this; “Edmunds says average transaction prices for large pickups, including heavy-duty models, have risen to almost $40,000, from about $31,000 in 2005,” according to AutoNews.com. This means the demand for such trucks has grown a LOT.

With an average transaction of $40k already and the likelihood that Mercedes-Benz could offer a diesel (they have the know-how), it’s not that much of a stretch to think that they would sell some pickups. Just how many? Who knows. Yet, with the Avalanche’s demise and along with it the Cadillac Escalade EXT (see: $65k+ pickup), the market is pretty wide open for a new luxury pickup offering.

What do you think? Is it time for a Lexus pickup that is a re-badged Tundra? Would a Mercedes-Benz Nissan truck have been a wise choice?

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  1. LJC says:

    Well, I’m not sure what one would haul with a $65K truck, seriously.

    Also, can you imagine the bias and hate on PUTC? The Tundra is already the most sructinized truck in the universe, adding a Lexus or Benz would cause the internet to explode!

  2. Mickey says:

    Agree you won’t see any hauling but maybe towing being done with a $65k truck. Personally I don’t think you will get too many sales being based off a Nissan Titan.

  3. mk says:

    my neighbor bought a used cadillac escalade off white in color all decked out. Don’t see the need for it besides thinking you are above anyone else out there. I’ll take my tundra or even santa fe over the escalade especially the 6.2L V8 sucking gas at around 13-14 at most mpg. They do complain about mpg and am sure it never sees ever over 15 hwy. mpg.

    Why they need nor want that big of a vehicle for 1 tiny kid is beyond reason.

    Mercedes will follow suit, way overpriced for the average American public won’t sell too many.

  4. Mickey says:

    Agree with you mk. I would go for a Black Diamond Avalanche first. I would only tow with it. Even if I got a new Platinum Tundra I would probably only tow my boat. Even though they can come with a coated bed liner. I never was much on an escalade. They actually turn me off. I’m not into flash at all.

  5. mk says:

    same here mickey, that is why I bought us the 3.5L V6 2011 hyundai santa fe in the mid-level sport version not the fancier leather limited version offering me nothing I need nor want for the extra 3-4 grand. Out the door price new was 23K or a tad over and for the money, was cheaper than the 3.5L V6 RAV4 with more room inside and in my opinion, just as good of quality and even better mpg by 1-2.

    My neighbor in 2011 same time bought a loaded AWD Ford Edge with all the gadgets out the door price of 33K. What in the world did he gain even NO leather seating for 10 grand extra besides 1500 more in AWD??? Absolutely nothing but headaches with sync system going out and steering wheel radio controls also acting up.

    Come trade in time he will take more than a 10K hit while I will only about 5-6K at most is all. He is now considering a mazda cx-5 since is cheaper and he hates the 21 avg mpg he gets with the ford edge same sized 3.5L V6 similar hp/torque while I get with my 3.5L V6 NO joke near 26 avg mpg and on long commutes average 28.5 avg mpg, hard to beat that!

    I think the SR5 mid-level tundra is darn near perfect in terms of value for the money and come trade in time. It has enough nice features but not overloaded with extras I do not need or will ever use.

    Spending 50K and above even for a used Escalade is just a waste of money. Then again, if you got money to burn, why not?

    For me, I own a 2001 honda valkyrie interstate cycle spend 8K on it 5 years ago will last 300K miles with minimal issues most likely will outlive my lifetime riding it most likely (if I don’t crash). Offers just as good of handling, more power, and just as much comfort as a 2-3x the price harley davidson ultra classic. I really don’t need to spend 20K on a cycle when an 8K used one will make me smile from ear to ear even more so than a HD will. My HD fanatic neighbor has drank the kool-aid way too long since he says if it doesn’t say HD on it, it isn’t worth riding. Whatever dude!

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