A high-ranking BMW executive has taken aim at Mercedes-Benz’s luxury bakkie, describing the Stuttgart automaker’s X-Class as “appalling” and a “disappointment”.
Speaking to motoring.com.au, Hendrik von Kuenheim, who currently serves as the BMW Group’s senior vice-president for the Asia, Pacific and South Africa region, said that Mercedes could “do better”.
“When you look now at our German competitor from Stuttgart I think that product [the X-Class] is appalling. You would have expected something more serious. I saw that car [the concept version] in Geneva and was actually disappointed. Very disappointed,” Von Kuenheim said, according to the Australian publication.
“They can do better … they build fantastic cars, but this one was a disappointment,” he added.
Set to be introduced to the South African market in the second quarter of 2018, the X-Class is built on the Nissan Navara platform thanks to Mercedes-Benz’s deal with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Interestingly, the executive – who previously headed up BMW Motorrad after holding various positions in markets such as Canada, Spain and Australia – confirmed that the Munich-based automaker was itself investigating the possibility of creating a luxury pick-up.
“I am well aware that BMW engineers have looked into the detail of what it takes. I personally believe, having been in Australia for more than three years, that there is room for a luxury ute, which is not there at this point in time,” he said.
“I believe our company could play a crucial role to fulfil that particular niche, but it’s a question of time when this will actually happen. For me it is crystal clear: if the market goes to an SUV share of 60 or 70%, then there is also space for a ute,” he told motoring.com.au.
Of course, this is not the first time a rival German firm has taken a swipe at the X-Class, with a VW executive last year branding the concept “over-hyped” and another predicting it would be little more than “a very expensive Nissan“.
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