Has Mercedes-Benz already given up on the X-Class?
Insiders say it's living on borrowed time.
The Nissan-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class truck (pictured) could retire sooner than expected. The German firm is considering killing the model as it attempts to greatly reduce its operating costs and boost its profits, according to insiders familiar with the company's plans.
Citing sources at the automaker, industry trade journal Automotive News Europe reported the X-Class is a future victim of Daimler's cost-cutting plan. The model is only two years old, but sales have been a major disappointment. It's only available in Europe, in Australia, and in South Africa, and Mercedes sold only 16,700 units of the truck in 2018. Your author lives in France, travels extensively in Europe, and can count on one hand the number of Xs he's seen in the wild.
Automotive News Europe blames the X's lackluster career on its high price, quality issues, and the fact that it's in one of the most competitive segments of the market. Clearly, putting a three-pointed star on a pickup isn't enough to sell it.
We'll add image as another factor contributing to its mediocre results. While Mercedes has spent decades earning a stellar reputation in the luxury car segment, rivals Toyota and Nissan have spent the same amount of time making sure they're known for rugged, go-anywhere trucks that don't break. For many buyers, the idea of a Mercedes-Benz pickup is about as logical as Burberry camping gear.
The sources who spoke to Automotive News Europe didn't reveal how long the X-Class has left to live. Mercedes-Benz hasn't commented on the truck's future, neither has Nissan, which builds the X-Class alongside the Navara and the Renault Alaskan (another phantom on European roads) in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Ronan Glon.