An Isuzu executive in Australia says that Mercedes-Benz set itself up “for failure” by introducing its X-Class bakkie without advanced safety technology such as adaptive cruise control.
Speaking to Drive.com.au, Kevin Griffiths, Isuzu’s senior fleet sales manager Down Under, said that the Stuttgart-based brand “suffered” when it launched the X-Class without features such as adaptive cruise control.
“Mercedes suffered when they brought their model out because they didn’t have it and they were trying to sell at a premium where it is expected. You design a vehicle to sell in the $60 000-odd category without those features and I think you’re setting yourself up for failure,” Griffiths said.
“It needs to be a genuine manufacturer-supported model if it’s going to sell with those features in that category. The [Ford Ranger] Raptor is and all the others are,” he added.
Griffiths went on to confirm that the Japanese automaker was considering creating a premium model to compete with models like the X-Class, Ranger Wildtrak and Volkswagen Amarok.
However, he emphasised that such a model was unlikely to arrive before 2020, when the next-generation D-Max (or KB, as we know it here in South Africa) is expected to be revealed.
“I thinks it’s a bigger challenge with the end of life of the current generation and something we’d look at with the next generation. There are some features we currently don’t have that you would need to have to move into that premium category. We’re talking about adaptive cruise control and stuff which are features you’d get on those sorts of [rival] brands.”