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X-Class said to ‘refine the pick-up’ segment
Mercedes-Benz Vans has officially launched its mid-size X-Class ute to the international media in Cape Town today, just ahead of it going into production.
Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, Volker Mornhinweg told the media that the X-Class will “refine the pic-up as a true premium vehicle”.
It’s the first premium brand to move into the segment that is dominating the New Zealand market.
Going in to the production in October, and on sale in Germany in November, the X-Class arrives in New Zealand early 2018.
From the start of production, Mercedes-Benz vans will produce four variants: the X200, X200d, X250d and the X350d with a V6 petrol available next year.
The X-Class will take on the new vehicle-dominating Ford Ranger and Volkswagen’s Amarok in the New Zealand market and lands in early 2018.
Mercedes-Benz NZ is already taking orders and has deposits from Kiwi X-Class buyers.
Details on the price or specifications have been announced for New Zealand.
The core markets for the X-Class are the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Europe, Russia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
The X-Class is a collaboration with Renault-Nissan, with a decision by the German brand made six years ago to focus on a premium ute, but was only signed off by Head of Mercedes-Benz Dr Dieter Zetsche two years ago.
The X-Class aimed at the European and NZ market will be built in Barcelona, Spain at the Renault-Nissan plant.
Mercedes-Benz Van’s model line-up for the X-Class will include a V6 petrol, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions plus two-wheel, four-wheel low range and 4Matic.
There are no plans at this stage to add an electric or hybrid version.
The X-Class has a ladder-type frame that will take a payload of more than 1100kg and have a towing capacity of up to 3500kg.
It will also have driver assistance systems based on cameras, radars and ultrasound sensors.
Mornhinweg, said, “we will appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pick-up before."
The brand will become “the first premium manufacturer to occupy the promising segment of mid-size pick-ups”.
The percentage of privately used pick-ups has been growing internationally with the need for a five-person cab while more private buyers want the comfort a passenger car.
The X-Class ute will be competing in our market with the high spec models such as the Ranger Wildtrak, the Toyota Hilux SR5, Holden’s Colorado Z71 and fellow European brand, Volkswagen’s Amarok.
It will also compete with to the other vehicles created from the platform, Nissan’s NP300 Navara, and Renault’s Alaskan.
The X-Class will ride on a wider track, with different suspension and chassis components and have different engines than the Navara.