A high-ranking Mercedes-Benz executive in Australia says the Stuttgart automaker won’t “react” to repeated jibes from the Volkswagen brand centring on the fact that the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara.
Volkswagan has taken many a potshot at Mercedes since the latter first announced its plan to enter the bakkie segment with a product based on the Navara. Late in 2017, for instance, a VW executive quipped that it is “very difficult to disguise a Nissan Navara”, while another earlier billed the X-Class as nothing more than a “very expensive Nissan”.
Soon thereafter, VW branded it an “over-hyped concept”, before recently emphasising that the “Amarok V6’s technology derives wholly from within the Volkswagen Group”, adding that VW did not have to “look to Japan for a donor vehicle”.
In addition, VW recently announced a new, high-output version of its V6-powered Amarok, giving the double-cab bakkie a whopping 190 kW and 580 N.m … and putting the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X350d squarely in its sights.
Speaking to GoAuto.com, Diane Tarr, who holds the position of Mercedes-Benz Vans managing director for Australia and New Zealand, suggested the best response to VW’s taunts might be to not respond at all.
“I think here we don’t react,” Tarr told the Australian publication.
“They certainly can have an approach, or position. In some ways it [the arrival of the X-Class] marked work for them.
“We possibly are a competitor more so because we are European, and they’ve held that ground, that space. I think from all aspects it’s a big market, it’s a growing market,” she added.
“There’s always going to be those diehard [customers] committed to a brand, and [bakkie] drivers, be it a Toyota, be it a Volkswagen, be it a Nissan, and I’m certainly confident that we will shake it up – and I think we are shaking it up.
“There’s space for all of us, because of that growth in the market, and I think we can ramp it up and then create and expand that segment of attracting customers that probably never thought about having a [bakkie] in their garage or driveway as a second or first car.”