Mercedes Making This Pickup – Why The Hell Are German Luxury Brands Going Crazy?

In what can be termed as something that could never happen,
not even in dreams, Mercedes-Benz few days back announced that they will build their
first-ever pick-up truck. And the official artistic conception of the truck is
now breaking the internet and social media, even airbrushing Kim Kardashian’s
photo or whatever! Yeah, okay it would be exciting to drive a pickup with a
three-pointed star on its hood, but the real reflection of the idea you
probably get is “WTF, You guys are out of ideas!!”. Is Mercedes out
of its mind to eat away its own brand equity?

Mercedes isn’t the only geek doing something crazy.
Many of the luxury brands, but here for the discussion the German luxury trio
for sure – they are going really weird with all their front drive minivans,
coupe-like SUVs, compact sedans, and hatchbacks, etc. Why the hell are they
doing so?? If you understand that volumes matter in present situation, you get
the answer!

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Daimler owned Mercedes says that the premium mid-size pickup truck will be
ready by 2020, and is targeted for select world markets like Latin America,
South Africa, Australia and Europe. The pickup truck is to be produced by the
company’s Vans division, who makes utility-minded rigs like the Sprinter, Vito,
the upcoming Metris, and the V-class. No further details about the car is
revealed, but it is quite apparent that this is a direct rival to the
Volkswagen Amarok that is currently on sale in the aforementioned markets.
Yeah, after reading the news we are likely to indulge in
some dreaming. So a Benz pickup ah?? An AMG version would be great; why not a
coupe version or a shooting brake??!!; how about interiors from the S-class or
the M-class??; Airmatic suspension and Bluetec tech?? Fascinating to think, but
we have to read between lines to predict the reality.

The Mercedes Pickup Truck will be ready by 2020.
Since this pickup is to be made by the MB Vans department,
the car is likely to be commercial-minded and utilitarian, so less of luxury,
of what we would think in real Mercedes standards. It was hinted to come with a
“payload of about one metric ton” in the press coverage, and likely
to be a ladder-frame chassis. None of the Sprinter or Vito models have AMG versions. Even the term ‘luxury’ is missing in Dr. Dieter
‘s, Head of MB Cars Division, statement about the new truck:
“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.”
The only mission for Mercedes Pickup is the VW Amarok

Secondly, why isn’t the car not meant for sale in USA, the
land of pickup trucks?? Partly because of the same reason – America has too
many full-size trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Dodge Ram,
far equipped and luxurious than this Mercedes appears to be. Further, Mercedes
enjoys better brand exclusivity in US than other markets, so they did not wish
to adulterate their brand image by selling this pickup.

And it is exactly inverse of the above argument to why this
pickup will never make it to India. We Indians hardly know what a pickup truck
is; there is just one model – Tata Zenon 4×4 (the Bolero and other single-cabs
doesn’t count) in the whopping big market of ours! The MB pickup will be ‘niche
of the niche market’ in India, and so the company is less likely to bring it.
First of all, we doesn’t even have station wagons. Let’s get that first!
So the key argument of the whole story is the greedy pursuit
for ‘volume sale’ in the recent times by the German luxury trio – Audi, BMW,
and the Mercedes. The trio has been expanding their reach in the global markets
since the last decade, including India, and are adopting ‘mass-market’ approach
by aiming for competitive prices and high sales. That’s why BMW goes for
2-series, or Mercedes going for GLA (though I still don’t get why MercedesGLA45 AMG exists!), or the Audi A3 for that matter. Quite ironically, the once mass-market brands like Fiat cease to exist as one now. In India too, mass brands like Tata are under trouble.

A dream come true for many truck enthusiasts finally!
The trio has already established a competitive volume-minded
compact SUV segment in India. In the world of share-holdings and stock
marketing, the companies have to cheer up their shareholders by big quarterly
numbers and new mass products. But at the end, when you get a BMW or an Audi
for the price of a regular full-size sedan, the whole idea of exclusivity and
‘luxury’ of these luxury brands is real gone! I hope they don’t prove their
madness by making crazy cars named ‘- A2’, ‘1-series +’, or ‘AB-class’ or
whatever to cash on the ridiculously blooming sub-4 metre compact sedans in the
Indian market!

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Wants To Retain Maybach Legacy; New Nomenclature Not Bad

Photo Credit:

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at

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