Two years ago we saw Mercedes-Benz unveil the X-Class, their take on making a plush yet still rugged pickup truck. Based off the current generation Nissan Navara, it sits on the same platform but gets a totally different exterior and interior design reminiscent of the GLS. The X-Class is also available as a more luxurious Maybach, as well as a slightly more powerful Brabus special.
But fast forward to 2019 and it looks like parent company Daimler wants to pull the plug on the Navara-based X-Class. Why the sudden change of plans? According to Automotive News Europe, the company wants to reduce costs amid upcoming profit warnings and changes in business directions. But what could ultimate spell the X-Class' demise is its poor sales performance.
With only a combined 16,700 units sold in Europe, Australia, and South Africa since its release, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is not exactly the most profitable model in the range. And with a starting price of EUR 37,924 (about Php 2.165 million), it's not competitively priced as well. With competition from the Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger, as well as from other brands in Europe and other markets, the X-Class struggled to keep up in sales.
Mercedes-Benz also cited that since the U.S. market was not tapped to sell the X-Class, they might have missed out on huge sales across the Atlantic. In addition, the posh pickup truck was also hit by a recall wherein a footwell light could come loose and jam the brake pedal, further hurting its reputation.
With low sales figures and the company's plan on setting aside more money to cover diesel emissions regulations and Takata airbag recalls, Daimler is seriously considering to put the X-Class out to pasture.
Could the company have sold more of the pickup truck by offering it not just in the U.S. but in parts of Southeast Asia like the Philippines or Thailand? Sure it will be more expensive than the Nissan Navara, but with pickup truck ownership on the rise, perhaps some customers in the region might have bought examples of the X-Class.
But given the low profits the company is experiencing with the ute, it might be too little, too late for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.