News - Mercedes-Benz - X-Class
Mercedes-Benz crosses out X-Class
Short-lived ride for Mercedes’ X-Class ute, with production to end in May
3 Feb 2020
MERCEDES-BENZ has confirmed that its controversial X-Class ute is headed for early retirement, with production set to end in May.
Based heavily on the current-generation Nissan Navara, the X-Class is assembled alongside the European-market Navara in Spain after plans to produce it in Argentina were scrapped last year.
In a statement issued late last week, the German premium car-maker said the X-Class was only a niche product that played “a great role in a few markets, including Australia and South Africa”.
In this market, which made a significant contribution to the vehicle’s development, Mercedes chalked up 2126 sales last year after posting 1514 in 2018, having launched in April that year.
“Already in the first quarter of 2019, we decided that the X-Class would not be built in Argentina as planned,” Mercedes said in the statement.
“The reason for this was, above all, that the price expectations of the Latin American customers have not been economically viable.
“Now it has been decided that from the end of May 2020, we will no longer produce this relatively young model.”
News of the X-Class’ retirement came almost immediately after Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi reaffirmed their alliance which will see the next-generation Navara share underpinnings with the next Mitsubishi Triton (and Renault Alaskan), with Mitsubishi to take the lead on the models’ development.
Mercedes’ continued involvement was always going to be difficult under the new alliance, and in light of limited global demand and controversy the model attracted with its donor platform and shared components, such as the Nissan-sourced 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.
Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia/Pacific has this week moved to reassure X-Class drivers that “service and warranty coverage will continue to be assured”.
“The X-Class has definitely heightened the attention on our van business in Australia,” said Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia and New Zealand PR and corporate communications manager Blake Vincent.
“It gave us the opportunity to talk to a different type of customer, expanding our reach beyond a commercial and private van audience.”
The X-Class lines up against the Volkswagen Amarok and high-end variants of top-selling models such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Holden Colorado and, not least of all, the Navara.
At launch, Mercedes was expecting the X-Class to draw close to, if not surpass, the annual sales volume of its entire van range – more than 4000 units – as the company worked on a broad customer base spanning tradespeople, recreational users and families.
The company received more than 9000 expressions of interest and an unspecified but “substantial amount” of pre-orders ahead of its launch and was confident the X-Class would win significant sales from buyers who were new to the brand, as well as those who were existing owners of other Mercedes passenger and commercial vehicles.
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