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Mercedes open to selling upcoming pickup in US

by Ronan Glon

Mercedes is in no rush to make a decision.

Contradicting an earlier report, Mercedes-Benz has hinted that it's open to the idea of selling its upcoming pickup truck in the United States. However, it's in no rush to make a decision.

"It's whenever. I don't think we do ourselves a favor to come up with a defined timetable. It's more important that we get it right," explained Ditmar Exler, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, in an interview with industry trade journal Automotive News.

Dubbed either X-Class or GLT-Class, Mercedes' first-ever midsize pickup will ride on the same body-on-frame architecture as the Nissan Navara. However, it will wear a Mercedes-specific design, boast a more upscale interior, and use engines borrowed from the Mercedes parts bin. The truck is primarily being developed for foreign markets like Latin America, Australia, and Europe, and Mercedes bluntly pointed out that it won't be a "fat cowboy truck for North America."

Dealers aren't waiting for Mercedes to make a decision. Mike Jackson, the head of AutoNation, believes that the truck should not be offered in the United States because it would have a hard time competing against "phenomenal" pickups sold by Detroit's Big Three. AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the United States, so executives tend to listen when Jackson speaks.

We'll find out more about Mercedes' upcoming pickup -- and about its chances of touching down in the U.S. -- this fall during the Paris Auto Show. Sources close to Mercedes have hinted the company will travel to the French capital to show the truck as a close-to-production concept.

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