Mercedes-Benz has defended its decision to partner with the Renault-Nissan Alliance to build the X-Class bakkie.
Responding to critics who call the X-Class simply a re-badged Nissan Navara Mercedes-Benz says that it must use economics of scale when building light commercial vehicles.
Volker Mornhinweg global head of Mercedes-Benz Vans said in an interview with Motoring at the global debut of the X-Class in Cape Town on Tuesday that the automaker won’t be able to achieve the number of sales it does with its passenger cars with the X-Class. As a result, partnering with the Renault-Nissan Alliance was a necessity.
“In the LCV business it’s a common approach to work with alliance partners, and a lot of companies are working together quite successfull.”
“If we would like to be attractive from a price perspective, we have to work on things together. We cannot achieve, in our LCV segment, the huge amounts of numbers as the [Mercedes-Benz] passenger cars can,” Mornhinweg said.
The X-Class will specifically target customers in South Africa, Europe and Australia and will be built in both Spain and Argentina.
“We had a target of introducing the car [X-Class] at a short-term notice, and as it’s a global product, we could not build-up one facility for this product.
“Therefore we discussed it with Nissan, if they [sic] are keen or have the willingness to work with us. They have a long tradition of doing pickups, and their base overall was useable for us, so we had it done,” he said.
At launch, Mercedes will offered the X-Class with two four-cylinder engines. Initially, there will be the X 220 d with a 2.3-liter turbo-diesel delivering 120kW and the X 250 d with a 140kW bi-turbo-diesel.