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Mercedes-Benz Outlines a Luxury Pickup for Europe, South America
http://www.wsj.com/articles/mercedes-benz-in-talks-with-nissan-to-jointly-develop-pickup-truck-1427463807
Talks with Japan’s Nissan to jointly develop truck said to be at an advanced stage

With a tug, Volker Mornhinweg pulled a covering off a life-size clay model of the pickup truck that Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz intends to enter the global market for midsize haulers.

Before him stands a sporty double-cab vehicle with the tapered lines typical of Mercedes-Benz sedans and sport-utility vehicles. But this vehicle has a loading space big enough for any craftsmen’s tools or gear for an outdoorsy family’s weekend outing.

“Years ago, SUVs used to be, well, rough,” Mr. Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in an interview. “Then they became prettier. Now, we see the same trend in pickup trucks. We see opportunities to enter this market as the first premium brand.”

Mercedes plans to build the truck in cooperation with Nissan Motors Co., using the basic framework of Nissan’s Navara and using Nissan factories to produce the vehicle, two people familiar with the situation said.

The talks, which are at an advanced stage, involve using the basic architecture of Nissan’s Navara pickup truck for the new vehicle that Mercedes is planning and producing the new truck in Nissan factories, two people who requested anonymity told The Wall Street Journal. Nissan was not immediately available for comment.

“The details are still being worked out,” one of the people said.

Mercedes would use the Navara framework, but would provide “everything with which the customer comes in contact,” the person added. That would include the powertrains, the interior, the design and other elements.

Mercdes declined to disclose any details of production plans, a specific launch date or pricing, but said it is making preparations to produce the vehicle “in large numbers” in various regions of the world within the next five years.

The truck will carry a payload of about one metric ton and come with four- or six-cylinder engines. Mercedes is targeting Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe for its debut. It says there are no plans for a U.S. launch.

Global sales of such midsize trucks were 2.34 million vehicles last year, according to IHSAutomotive, a research group. The market is growing, but it isn’t booming. Sales are expected to rise to 2.83 million by 2020, says IHS.

Mercedes is counting less on growth in the market, than on demand for trucks with greater luxury and comfort from existing buyers.

“We call it rough luxury,” said Kai Sieber, director of design, brands & operations at Mercedes Vans.

The cab sports two rows of seats, easily fitting a family of four or a builder’s crew, and will contain many of the same interior components and features typical of Mercedes-Benz’s cars and vans. There will be a luxury version with leather interior and chrome furnishings. And there will be a more robust version with a washable interior for the workhorse.

MercedesMe, the company’s infotainment system, will be onboard, officials said.

Mr. Mornhinweg dismissed speculation that Mercedes also is planning to launch a full-size truck in the U.S. market against such popular trucks as Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 and General Motors Co.’s Silverado and Chrysler’s Ram.

“The full-size segment is too specific for the U.S. It’s not a global market,” he said. “And it’s dominated by the Big Three. It makes no sense to go there.”

The market for midsize trucks in the U.S. could be a niche, especially since those are vehicles that manufacturers can sell in other global markets.

Mercedes hasn’t decided yet whether to take its coming pickup onto U.S. roads, where the midsize market is dominated by Toyota Motor Corp.’s Tacoma, GM’s Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon and Nissan Motor Co.’s Frontier, which cost about $21,000 and up in the U.S.

But foreign manufacturers are watching with interest the recent growth in U.S. pickup truck sales, including growing demand for midsize trucks.

“Auto makers continue to study the option—especially those that see the U.S. makers benefiting from an uptick in U.S. pickup sales,” said Stephanie Brinley, an IHS analyst.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Get ready for the Mercedes-Benz among pickups: Mercedes-Benz Vans to launch midsize pickup
-Expansion of product range for sustained global growth

-Market for midsize pickups primed for first model from a premium manufacturer

-Mercedes-Benz to enter the high-volume midsize segment before end of decade

-Main markets: Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe

Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz will expand its product range into a promising segment by launching the first pickup from a premium manufacturer. Thanks to their versatility, all-round utility, and payload of about one metric ton, pickups are popular across the world and thus have good sales potential.

"The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. "We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value."

Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, adds: "As part of our 'Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global' strategy, the pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model."

A promising segment with global scope

The midsize pickup segment is currently undergoing a transformation worldwide. More and more pickups are being used for private purposes, and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specificiations. Mercedes-Benz is the first premium manufacturer to respond to this market shift by developing its own pickup. A similar example was the successful introduction of the M-Class around 20 years ago. As the first sport utility vehicle (SUV) from a premium manufacturer, the M-Class completely redefined the segment.

The new Mercedes-Benz pickup will initially be targeted at markets in Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe, all of which are posting sustained growth in this segment.

Mercedes-Benz Vans: Center of competence for commercially and privately used vehicles

The Mercedes-Benz Vans division is responsible for the new vehicle. With its many years of experience in developing, manufacturing, and marketing vehicles that are used commercially as well as privately, Mercedes-Benz Vans is ideally suited to enter the midsize pickup segment and launch a Mercedes-Benz pickup on the market for the first time in the company's history. Current models such as the V-Class and the Vito demonstrate that Mercedes-Benz Vans has the high level of expertise to successfully serve customers from a wide variety of private and commercial sectors.

"We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car," says Mornhinweg. "We will design our brand's first pickup according to this recipe for success."
 

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Mercedes, Nissan to develop midsize M-B pickup
http://www.autonews.com/article/20150407/OEM04/150409884/mercedes-nissan-to-develop-midsize-m-b-pickup
Daimler AG will expand its cooperation with strategic partner Nissan to develop a midsize pickup for Mercedes-Benz.

The new Mercedes-Benz pickup will target commercial and private clients and will share some of the underpinnings with an all-new Nissan NP300 truck, Daimler and Nissan said in a joint statement.

"Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

"Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment."

Late last month Mercedes announced it will build a midsize pickup for customers outside North America, entering a new vehicle category that has been dominated by lower-priced brands.

Mercedes, Nissan and Renault have shared engines, plants and vehicle underpinnings for small cars since an alliance was struck between the carmakers in 2010. Since then, collaboration has expanded from three common vehicle projects to 13.

The Mercedes pickup truck will be built by Nissan in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and a Renault-branded truck for Latin America, Daimler said.

The three trucks will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America. Production of the trucks at the two plants will start by the end of the decade, the companies said.

The Barcelona plant will produce about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70,000 vehicles a year.

Mercedes-Benz's U.S. sales arm is studying whether to sell a version of the proposed Mercedes pickup, Steve Cannon, head of the Mercedes-Benz USA said last week at the New York auto show.

"It wouldn't come until, at the earliest, the '18, '19 time frame," he said. "We've got time to look at the market and decide."

Pickups have gained popularity in recent months as gasoline prices eased. Last year, three of the four top-selling cars in the United States were full-sized pickups, the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.

The segment has been moving upmarket, creating an opening for a premium brand, Daimler said. A recent study by Truecar.com found 25 percent of Ford pickups sell for $50,000 or more.
 

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Mercedes GLT: Merc chief on his new pick-up truck developed with Nissan
http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/spy-shots/mercedes-benz/mercedes-glt-merc-chief-on-his-new-pick-up-truck-developed-with-nissan/
Mercedes confirmed in March 2015 that it was readying a new mid-size pick-up - its first double-cab to disrupt the predominantly American and Japanese truck scene. We’ve interviewed the chief of Daimler’s commercial vehicle division and produced exclusive renderings to show how the Merc pick-up will look.

Read on for our scoop dossier on what is rumoured to be badged the GLT. Which certainly sounds better than the implausibly codenamed Project Andrew, Daimler’s in-house name for its pick-up project.

Why is Mercedes doing a pick-up?

Expansion is the catchword of M-B’s future product strategy - and that applies to vans and trucks as much as cars, according to the manager in charge, former AMG chief Volker Mornhinweg who’s working on the three-pointed star’s trucklet.

‘We are not going to develop a fat cowboy truck for North America,’ he tells CAR. ‘After all, the big three - Ford, GM/GMC and Ram - already own about 90% of that market which typically absorbs in excess of two million units per year. In this cut-throat environment, newcomers like us would invariably fight an arduous uphill battle. That’s why our focus is on a smaller and lighter pick-up truck which is already perceived as premium product in South America, Africa and the Middle East.’

How big is the worldwide market for pick-ups?

The take rate for mid-size trucks is around 2.3 million units per annum, according to Daimler. The long-time leader of the pack is Toyota which sells around 700,000 of its Hilux/Tacoma twins. Next in line are Nissan, Isuzu, Ford and GMC. The VW Amarok has managed to secure a modest 3% stake of the action since launch in 2010.

At this point, Mercedes will not yet talk numbers, but even optimists are struggling to forecast more than five figures in the short term. Although the Sprinter is produced in five different plants spread around the globe (and sold in 130 territories), the existing industrial footprint will not easily manufacture the pick-up due in late 2018 or early 2019, sources say.

Instead, Mercedes is tipped to enter a cooperation with Nissan, which recently introduced the new D40-generation Navara built in Thailand and Mexico. The Germans are said to be particularly interested in the factory in Aguascalientes which operates under the NAFTA umbrella.

Mercedes and Nissan to co-produce the pick-up

Daimler is already collaborating with Renault-Nissan globally, don’t forget. The Smart Fortwo/Forfour and Infiniti Q30 are all joint ventures - and it sounds like the Mercedes GLT could be next. The common denominator of this still tentative joint venture is a modular components set consisting of ladder frame, axles and body structure. Exterior, interior and engines would be brand-specific.

‘Modern pick-ups are becoming increasingly car-like,’ said Mornhinweg. ‘We shall take account of this trend by offering a wide choice of drivetrains as well as three different equipment levels provisionally labelled workhorse, dual use and leisure and family. Marketing expects dual-use to be the undisputed best-seller with the base and premium packs splitting the remaining 50%.’

Four- and six-cylinder engines are earmarked for the GLT, in petrol and diesel flavours. According to a person familiar with the business case, prices are going to start around $30,000 (£21,000) in the cheapest markets.

As an alternative to the standard live rear axle, buyers may specify an independent suspension as well as 4Matic AWD. Those who don’t feel like operating a six-speed manual transmission are encouraged to opt for the seven-speed automatic. The only area where you do not have a choice is bodystyle - of which there is only one, namely a four-door twin-cab, depicted in our renderings by Designwerk (first and second image in the gallery).

Mercedes GLT: a smarter kind of pick-up

‘The customers out there are waiting for the Mercedes among the mid-size pick-ups,’ Mornhinweg told CAR. ‘We shall give them exactly what they ask for: impeccable fit and finish, top-notch safety and comfort, excellent vehicle dynamics and state-of-the-art connectivity. Yes, our vehicle looks plain and simple. But it is highly functional, it offers best-in-class passenger space in row two, the ergonomics leave nothing to be desired, and the materials used clearly exceed typical pick-up standards.’

Special features include an electric rear window in lieu of a sunroof, three different cabin style and equipment levels, a classy instrument panel inspired by GLE and GLC, a tall and wide dual cab and a tailgate which can be locked at a 90deg or 180deg angle.

Just about the only detail of the modern Mercedes pick-up which reminds us of its much more basic ancestors is the traditional lever-operated handbrake.

 

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<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LTnGHGvwJfE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The rise of a new star: On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, Mercedes-Benz will present a new car class in Stockholm: the Mercedes-Benz Pickup “The Concept”. Be in for a surprise!
 

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<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_Nbx6Qmg1k4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V6IdIKrknu8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iImOPrADi5w?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The best out of two worlds – Mercedes-Benz Vans has revealed the X-CLASS pickup concept in Stockholm, Sweden.

It consists of two design variants, the Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer and the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer. Event reporter Markus Haubold was on-site and has captured the most important information and impressions of the reveal.
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With the Concept X-CLASS, Mercedes-Benz Vans gives a concrete outlook on its new pickup, the X-Class, in Stockholm.

The first premium pickup will combine the best of two worlds. This is demonstrated impressively by Mercedes-Benz with two design variants of the concept car. The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017.
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pazvkwZCxDY?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The best out of two worlds – Mercedes-Benz Vans has revealed the X-CLASS pickup concept with this trailer.
 

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<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XoTtE0JgXtQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Kai Sieber explains the design of the Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class that consists of two design variants, the Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer and the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer.
 

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<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cQ9YUweTHUk?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Whether with the engageable or permanent version of 4MATIC all-wheel drive – the Mercedes-Benz X-Class effortlessly climbs gradients of up to 45 degrees, goes through water of depths up to 60 centimetres and masterfully copes with tilt angles of almost 50 degrees.
 

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