While the public expected a decision from Mercedes-Benz on whether its pickup truck will be sold in the U.S. by the end of the year, it appears the manufacturer will need a little longer to weigh its options.
Automotive News reports that the decision will come within the next eight to 10 months, as announced by Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon at the Frankfurt Auto Show:
“The product is still very fluid,” Cannon said at the auto show here. “We’ve got time to make this decision, so we’re not hurrying with it. We want to make sure the product fits this market’s needs. If it doesn’t, we’re not bringing it — I can tell you that.”
The midsize pickup, a Daimler/Nissan joint venture, is currently being developed for other regions of the world — its existence in the U.S. is what remains in question, and the answer will be decided by whether or not the company believes the vehicle can add value to that segment of Mercedes.
If Mercedes does decide to send the truck to the U.S., the company will freeze its design concept so that U.S. product planners can have some say in what will actually land on American soil (note: just don’t ask us Texans how to design it, or we’ll probably propose to put giant cattle guards on the front.)
Originally thought to be the concept for a work truck, Cannon noted in the latest update that the pickup would probably have to be pitched as a lifestyle vehicle instead if it was sold here.
Tradespeople “probably don’t want a Mercedes-Benz on the front because they’d be worried about the statement that’s making to their clients,” he said. But plenty of Mercedes customers also have a pickup in their garage because they like the trucks’ image and flexibility.
With the lower gas prices resulting in booming truck and SUV sales in the U.S., a Mercedes truck might not be too far-reaching of an idea to bring to the market. One could easily see it competing against the luxurified trucks from Ford, GMC or Ram that top $70,000 or more.
And for Mercedes, the goal is to compete in the market by virtue of the vehicle’s distinctiveness — not to simply into the truck-manufacturing mold:
“You don’t come into a market that’s highly established to just be an also-ran and just put the badge on the front,” [Cannon] said. “So if we cannot bring the Mercedes-Benz attributes to the segment, then we won’t.”
But if your daily driver is going to just have a badge on the front, no one can really complain about it being a Mercedes one. Am I right?
I’ll take one in AMG spec with a twin-turbo engine. And the cattle guard, please.
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