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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - Ute

New York show: Benz Ute to follow VW Amarok model

To a T: Benz is yet to announce it, but the company's first pick-up is believed to be dubbed GLT.

Workhorse and plaything alike, the Mercedes ‘GLT’ will span the one-tonne market

30 Mar 2016


MERCEDES-BENZ’S upcoming pick-up, reportedly dubbed the GLT, will be similar in concept and execution to rival Volkswagen’s Amarok, with both luxury-biased dual-cab passenger versions as well as single-cab workhorses expected to be offered.

The Benz ute is still yet to be seen, apart from a sketch released last year, but it will share its underpinnings with Nissan's D23 NP300 Navara.

Mercedes-Benz board member in charge of marketing and sales Ola Kaellenius detailed the variant plan with Australian journalists at the New York motor show last week.

“We will have versions that are more on the commercial side… and versions that are more for the individual passenger-car like use,” he said. “It is developed by our van division, but in markets like Australia it will be sold through our dealerships.”

Asked if the company would take the template employed by Volkswagen for its Amarok and run with it in a more 'Mercedes-Benz' way, Mr Kaellenius confirmed: “Yes, you could say that.”

While style and luxury will be part of the higher-priced versions’ appeal as a Mercedes, Mr Kaellenius put paid to any AMG high-performance version for the time being.

“I wouldn’t say that an AMG is at the top of the list as the pick-up segment is not necessarily associated with hardcore on-track performance cars. That’s unlikely. But we will have a spread, from more commercially-orientated versions to something more for the individual.”

In terms of safety, Mr Kaellenius said that the pick-up truck will be “a Mercedes through and through”.

“We certainly will have the same safety standard for our trucks and SUVs as we have with all our passenger cars,” he said.

4 center imageLeft: Mercedes-Benz board member in charge of marketing and sales Ola Kaellenius.As GoAuto has previously reported, the ‘GLT’ is expected to be released in 2018, and will target the Amarok as well as higher-end versions of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

It will be based on the ladder-frame chassis and possibly the basic body structure of the D23 NP300 Nissan Navara, but speculation suggests it will feature a wider track, unique styling, a completely redesigned interior and Mercedes-derived turbo engines in four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel formats to distance it from the donor vehicle.

“It is very important that what consumers get is a Mercedes, so all the things they feel and look at has to be a true Mercedes – and this is what we are working towards,” Mr Kaellenius said.

Of course Nissan’s Alliance partner Renault will also have its own version known as the Alaskan, and all three joint-venture vehicles will reportedly be built in Thailand for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Mr Kaellenius said the joint-venture is important because it will take time for Mercedes to establish and make money on something as new as a pick-up truck.

“Each business case has to stand on its own feet,” he explained. “And if you have a segment where the critical mass in terms of volume to make it into a business case, we wouldn’t be able to do that if we did it ourselves in this market. Naturally to find a partner is what you would do, and that’s what we’ve done (with the pick-up truck).

“We will take a first step with this vehicle, and see how it goes, and we’ll go from there.

“(And even if we could make money on our own) it still makes sense to have a partner to share development costs, especially with what’s behind the scenes with the car… and if you have a strong co-operation then this way is the better route… better for profitability, but also you accumulate more miles while testing etcetera, so there are other benefits next to just the financial side of it.”

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