Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it’s readying a premium double-cab bakkie that will be launched in selected markets, including South Africa, “before the end of the decade” – some reports say perhaps as early as 2018…
The Wall Street Journal reported that Volker Mornhinweg, the ex-AMG boss who’s now the head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, this week revealed a life-size clay model of the one-tonne double-cab in Böblingen, Germany and announced Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles had been working on “the first pick-up to be built by a premium manufacturer” for several years.
“Years ago, SUVs used to be, well, rough,” Mornhinweg was quoted as saying. “Then they became prettier. Now, we see the same trend in pick-up trucks. As part of our ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ strategy, the pick-up is the ideal vehicle for the expansion of our range with a newly developed model.”
The manufacturer noted “more and more pick-ups (were) being used for private purposes, with commercial and private users increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications”. Latin America (where the product is most likely to be produced), South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe are its target markets.
An artist’s impression supplied by Mercedes-Benz shows an envisioned double-cab replete with overt SUV design cues and grille, headlamp and badging elements that aesthetically tie the model to its passenger-car siblings. Its interior will contain many of the same interior components and features typical of Mercedes-Benz’s cars and vans. It’s likely that there will be more robust (single-cab) versions with washable interiors for commercial users, but luxury double-cab models will sport leather-trimmed interiors with chrome finishes, as well as the firm’s high-end infotainment and safety systems.
According Dr Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the Daimler AG’s board of management, “the mid-size pick-up segment is undergoing a transformation worldwide. We’ll enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”
The Australia/Pacific division of Mercedes-Benz Vans has “been working on this project for a number of years and will be conducting product testing (of the double cab) in Australia over the next couple of years,” managing director Diane Tarr said.
It is not known which powerplants and transmissions will be utilised in the product, but some reports say four- and six-cylinder turbodiesel motors are lined up. We expect the product will be named, not designated by “Class”.
“We call it rough luxury,” said Kai Sieber, director of design, brands & operations at Mercedes-Benz Vans, reportedly said. Well we never!