The head of Mercedes-Benz Vans has admitted the X-Class bakkie is a “niche product” that hasn’t delivered the volumes the German automaker was expecting.

Marcus Breitschwerdt, who took over as head of the division as recently as May 2019, told Automotive News Europe the “X-Class is a niche product".

The comment comes after rumours emerged in July 2019 suggesting the Stuttgart-based firm would axe the bakkie – which is, of course, based on the Nissan Navara – as part of its efforts to “reduce costs amid profit warnings”.

That earlier report claimed just 16 700 units of X-Class were sold in 2018 in Europe, Australia and South Africa combined. Automotive News Europe furthermore reports just 6 800 units of the bakkie were registered in the first half of 2019, compared with 8 400 in the same period in 2018.

Breitschwerdt also told the publication Mercedes-Benz had no intention of entering the full-sized pick-up segment, which is dominated by the likes of the Ford F-Series in North America.

He went on to confirm Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler was reviewing its product portfolio, with the vans division also under pressure.

"In order to optimise our performance, this also means reviewing and realigning our strategic orientation," Breitschwerdt said. "We are looking at what we have and what we could have.”