Why Mercedes is confident in new customers?
|Updated: 11:00 07-03-2017|
It's the world's single most popular vehicle and a market segment dominated for four decades by Ford and its F-Series. But even with such stiff competition and strong tradition, Mercedes is convinced that its first pickup, the X-Class is going to be a hit.
It's taken 130 years for Mercedes-Benz to launch its first true pickup truck, yet when the X-Class officially goes on sale this year, following what the company describes as a "nine-figure investment," it is extremely confident of success.
"We want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs," said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG. "The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
In 2016, 4.86 million people decided to pick up a pickup and 986,773 of them went for a Ford F-Series and a further 222,533 for its smaller brother, the Ford Ranger. What's more, it's one of the few vehicle segments that is showing strong signs of further growth and evolution, even with the rise of the SUV and the crossover.
In fact, a form of domestication is happening where the pickup's image has been well and truly rehabilitated and is now something that can take pride of place on a suburbanite's drive as easily as it can sitting in front of a ranch. And it's this evolution that Mercedes believes will be key to the X-Class's success.
"We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups — with the world's first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle," said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise."
Those are bold words, but in terms of genuine capability, the X-Class has been developed in partnership with Nissan and will be based on its popular Navara. However it will come packed with Mercedes technology and creature comforts.
"In other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before," Mornhinweg said.
According to Mercedes, those people include families with an active lifestyle and a desire for premium products; individuals that live in urban surrounds with outdoor weekend activities such as jet skiing and climbing; and those that actively want a car that's cool, different and on-trend.
However, one thing that's telling is the company's decision to launch the car initially in Europe, Australia, South Africa and South America, rather than in the US.
The Mercedes X-Class will be on show at this year's Geneva motor show in concept form March 9-19 and will be going into production before the end of 2017.
|Source: AFP-Relaxnews||Published: 11:00 02-03-2017|