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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - Ute

Merc ute to use Merc engines

On the way: The Mercedes-Benz pick-up is still years off but the company's local arm is sending feedback to Germany to help with its development.

Nissan Navara still at heart of Mercedes’ new pick-up, but German power now likely

Mercedes-Benz logo21 Jul 2015

By TIM ROBSON

MERCEDES-BENZ will equip its forthcoming pick-up with powertrains from its own catalogue, eschewing units from the Nissan Navara on which it will be based.

The German car-maker will follow Renault in developing a Navara D23-based one-tonne pick-up for markets that include South Africa, South America and Australia, with Merc’s version set to appear in 2018.

Daimler AG board member and head of Mercedes-Benz research and development Thomas Weber told Australian journalists at the launch of the GLC SUV that the development team in charge of the utility project are targeting a premium feel for the new-to-Mercedes pick-up.

“Of course they will go for Mercedes (feel), and they will go for Mercedes based on a Nissan platform,” he said, in response to suggestions that the D23 Navara may not offer the package that would suit the Mercedes ethos.

Dr Weber also confirmed that the company would use Mercedes engines for the upcoming project. These could potentially include the new inline six-cylinder petrol engine currently under development, as well as the current 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol six and the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel.

Depending on payload and towing specifications, it could also look to the 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesels currently in use in C-Class, GLC and GLE.

The only European player in the 4x4 pick-up sector, Volkswagen, relies on a 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine for its Amarok. It makes up to 132kW and 420Nm, depending upon the variant.

Mercedes-Benz’s new nine-speed automatic gearbox and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system from the forthcoming GLE are also logical starters for the prestige ute.

“We are sure we can do a real Mercedes, starting with the design,” said Dr Weber. “Yes, to come to an attractive price we are using a common platform, but all the rest is done by Mercedes.

“To design and develop this was really specifically the main thing. We can really fulfill Mercedes criteria.”

As GoAuto has previously reported, the as yet unnamed pick-up will be tested in Australia and New Zealand. “We have been working on this project for a number of years and Australia and New Zealand have been an integral part of the program from the very beginning,” Mercedes-Benz Vans managing director for Australia and New Zealand Diane Tarr said when announcing the ute in March this year. “We will be conducting product testing in Australia over the next couple of years.” The 4x4 dual cab sector currently represents almost 12 per cent of the Australian new-car market, with Toyota’s stalwart HiLux leading the brigade with 13,034 sales in 2015 ahead of a new model that arrives in December.

Ford’s Ranger sits in second with 11,205 4x4 sales for the year, while the only European player currently in the market is the Volkswagen Amarok, which has logged 4,457 sales for the year to hold 6.5 per cent of the sector.

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