Daimler and Renault-Nissan have confirmed a three way venture to develop a Mercedes-Benz mid-sized dual-cab pick-up on the architecture of the Japanese car-maker’s new Navara.
This is apparently a long term production, as the Mercedes side of the deal is slated for production in 2018.
Production of the one tonner will see the Mercedes truck initially rolling down production lines beside the D23 Navara in Renault’s Argentinian facility and Nissan’s production line in Spain.
Mercedes will lead the design of its own model to deliver “all of Mercedes-Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features.”
The same philosophy is being seen at Renault developing its own one-tonner which is also based on the forthcoming Navara.
The French version will go into production next year at the Mexican Nissan factory in Cuernavaca, but manufacturing of the Mercedes pick-up is expected to come online soon after with the first examples from 2018.
Global production of the three separate models will total 120,000 a year with about 70,000 of those coming from Argentina, boosting productivity in the various manufacturing regions.
Daimler AG board chairman Dieter Zetsche said the Renault-Nissan Alliance had allowed Mercedes to enter a new segment with minimal costs.
“Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world,” he said. “Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path.
“Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment.”
The first versions of Mercedes’ pick-up are expected to be work-horse variants appealing to tradespeople and leisure seekers, but a more hardcore on-road focused AMG version is not out of the question. (Anyone for a V8 twin turbo Navara?)
Speaking at the New York International Auto Show, Mercedes-AMG board of management chairman Tobias Moers confirmed that a high-performance AMG version was a possibility in time.
“The pick-up project would be successful but we have to wait a little bit,” he said. “We don’t have an understanding for that now. We’ve never been in that segment and honestly we don’t have any experience so we need to do some research.
I’m sorry, but for me, the idea of a tradesman’s pick-up being a Benz just doesn’t sit well.
Any European-branded one-tonne dual-cab pick-up will go head to head with Volkswagen’s Amarok, of which more than 8000 were sold in Germany last year. It is also expected that VW will build the Amarok here in Thailand.