It’s no secret that the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara. But why exactly did the Stuttgart-based automaker choose to work with the Japanese automaker on its first double-cab bakkie?
Well, Mercedes-Benz Vans chief Volker Mornhinweg told Automotive News Europe that there were two major reasons behind the partnership, after emphasising that it was “perfectly normal in the vans business to work together because we don’t have the same scale effects as in passenger cars”.
“If you want a product to be global, it helps to have a partner with production plants on different continents with whom you can share capacity,” Mornhinweg told the publication, referring to the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s factories in Argentina and Spain.
“After realising there was the potential for such a product, we wanted to be very fast to market. That’s why we decided to partner with Nissan, which also has more than 80 years of experience in the segment,” he added.
“Nonetheless, we made no concessions; the vehicle is specified to the demands of our customers.”
Mornhinweg added that the needs of pick-up customers had changed over the past few years.
“Not every customer takes them into the wilderness anymore. We believe pick-ups could go in a similar direction. And when we presented the vehicle in South Africa, I remember experiencing a response that was overwhelmingly positive. We had customers who immediately wanted to order it, down payments and all.”
But is there space for a posh bakkie?
“Yes, we think there is room for a premium pick-up. It’s true that some competitors are in the lower segment, but others have moved upmarket in the past few years. The segment is global and it is growing,” he added.
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