X-Class to be Axed – In-Depth Analysis

Professional Pickup & 4×4 magazine can confirm that, following widespread reports, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be withdrawn from the product line-up by the end of the year. We spoke to senior figures at the German automaker, who explained that the sales never lived up to expectations.

Globally, pickup truck sales have been growing year-on-year and last year sales reached 6.19m – an increase of 3.2% on 2017. It seems Mercedes-Benz had chosen the perfect time to launch the X-Class.

However, only 16,700 units were sold in 2018 compared with 548,000 of the Toyota Hilux, 335,000 of the Isuzu D-Max and 267,000 of the Ford Ranger. Even the premium Volkswagen Amarok, the X-Class’s main competitor, outsold it at a rate of around five-to-one with sales of around 81,000.

ALSO READ: Best-Selling Pickup Trucks 2018 UK

Even though X-Class sales were up in the first half of 2019 (in the UK, they were up 83% to 1,172), sources at Daimler’s headquarters in Stuttgart confirmed to Professional Pickup that production will stop at the Barcelona factory by the end of the year (no one at Mercedes-Benz UK would comment).

Earlier this year, former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche cancelled plans to produce the X-Class in South America.

So what went wrong for the X-Class? The most obvious answer is the price. Prices of the X350D Power, the ‘flagship’ X-Class, start at £39,510 plus VAT – over £4,000 more expensive than the top-of-the-range Amarok (£35,340 plus VAT).

X-Class V6 X350D vs Amarok V6 258PS

ALSO READ: Volkswagen Amarok V6 258PS vs Mercedes-Benz X-Class X350D V6

What makes matters worse is the market is well-aware that the X-Class is based on, and built alongside, the Nissan Navara. The Navara’s highest trim level, the Tekna, is similarly specced to the Power and priced at £27,675 plus VAT, however, it is widely available at the low £20’s – just over half the price!

Another reason is emissions. Merc’s own 3.0-litre V6 engine (OM642) is more popular than Renault-Nissan’s 2.3-litre, four-cylinder engine, and it remains to be seen whether it will meet the upcoming Euro 6D, or Euro 6.2, emission standard – due in September 2019.

There’s also speculation the Renault-Nissan-Daimler alliance formed by Zetsche and former Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who had a ‘very good working relationship’ may be in jeopardy. However, Zetsche retired in April and Ghosn stepped down after being arrested in Tokyo on ‘false accounting’ in November 2018.

The new Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius is instead looking to build a relationship with BMW and new Chinese partners Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. The only good news for Mercedes-Benz pickup truck fans is that pickup trucks form a huge part of Geely’s business plan moving forward. After all, we do have to end on a silver lining!

Geely pickup truck

Geely pickup truck

 

X-Class to be Axed – In-Depth Analysis

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