Premium brand pickups (so far) have been a bust. The Lincoln Blackwood was the Edsel of pickups, and the later Mark LT wasn’t a whole lot more successful either. Cadillac’s Escalade EXT was another dud. But that didn’t give that irrepressibly optimist Dieter Zetsche, Daimler Chairman and head of Mercedes cars any pause when he announced in 2015 that Mercedes would build the first successful premium brand pickup.
He did say it was going to be “co-developed” with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, but what he failed to say was it it would in essence be a badge-engineered Nissan Navara, and not have the exclusive body and image that Mercedes buyers might just expect from the the three-pointed star brand.
The results were…predictable.
Here’s the Nissan Navara. See the
resemblance problem? And to put this in context, the Navara is just the current evolution of the long line of Nissan compact pickups that go all the way back to the 1950s, and were of course sold here very successfully from the early ’60s on, ater known as the Frontier. This generation of Navara was not sold in the US, as the latest generation (2022) Frontier is a somewhat larger and wider truck.
Here’s a rear shot of the X-Class from another source on the web. It was slated to be only available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, and Africa; obviously North America was not going to go for this. But it turned out those other parts of the world didn’t either. In its first year (2018) just 16,700 were sold in all markets; that dropped to 15,300 in 2019. Production ended in 2020.
How about a Maybach pickup?