According to a statement released by the company today, Mercedes-Benz will add a pickup truck to its lineup by 2020.
“We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of the Mercedes-Benz Cars Division
Zetsche is well known in North America as the former head of Daimler Chrysler, based in Michigan, so he is very familiar with the importance of pickups in this market.
Initially, however, the new Mercedes-Benz pickup will be targeted at markets in Australia, Europe, Latin America, and South Africa, all of which are considered to be growth markets – and markets not already dominated by Detroit offerings.
Thanks to their versatility, all-round utility, and payload of about one metric ton, pickups are popular across the world and thus have good sales potential, the company said.
No mention was made of North America but it is hard to imagine the world's biggest pickup market would be ignored for long once a product is available.
More and more pickups are being used for private purposes and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications, the company noted.
Mercedes-Benz will be the first premium manufacturer to respond to this market shift by developing its own pickup. The company cites the introduction of the M-Class SUV a couple decades ago as a similar example. As the first sport utility vehicle from a premium manufacturer, it redefined the segment.
The new pickup will be developed and built by the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, which has already effectively redefined the commercial van market in North America with its range of Sprinter vans.