It seems that the days of the luxo-ute could be numbered.
According to a German business publication, Daimler could be on the verge of axing its cooperations with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which could spell the untimely end of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. The X is famously based on the Nissan Navara, and that car is set to share its oily bits with the upcoming Mitsubishi Triton, now that that brand has been inducted into the Alliance as the third partner.
To be totally clear, the X-Class isn’t on its way out right now, so don’t excitedly call your dealer and ask for a run-out discount. The X-Class could be a one-hit wonder, with production ending along with the current-generation Navara in about 4-years or so. The scandalous arrest of Carlos Ghosn supposedly played a role in the souring of Daimler’s relationship with the Alliance (the original venture was signed into reality about a decade ago between Ghosn and outgoing Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche), but the major issue here is that the X-Class isn’t being as warmly-received as Daimler thought it would be.
According to Manager Magazin, the supervisory board at Daimler have expressed “displeasure” towards the partnership with the Alliance, saying that it’s not as cost-efficient as they thought it would be. The new boss Ola Källenius “will gently drain the alliance, without hurting anyone.”
This leaves Mercedes-Benz in a bit of a bind. Their former commercial-platform buddies Volkswagen have paired up with Ford, resulting in the twinning of the next-gen Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, leaving Mercedes without anyone to work with. In the industry, only Toyota’s Hilux and GM’s Holden Colorado go it alone, with even Mazda’s BT-50 based on the current-generation Ranger.
With the Mercedes-Benz X-Class getting a cold reception in most of the markets that they thought were a given, and the continued focus on next-generation mobility, it’s entirely possible that the current X-Class will also be the only X-Class that history will record. And better for it – higher-end versions of the Ranger and Amarok already beggar belief in terms of road manners and running refinement and are already at the top-end of what people are willing to pay for for a workhorse.
X-Class gets axed? Fine by us.