Following media speculation, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler on Tuesday confirmed that it will be building its first Mercedes-badged pick-up truck in partnership with Nissan.
The companies have worked in partnership for a number of years and already share a number of commercial vehicle platforms. For example, the cheerful Renault Kangoo van-derived MPV can also be bought in certain countries, including the UK, as the Mercedes Citan instead.
Nissan's expertise extends to the pick-up truck segment where globally it is the world's second largest producer. Since 1933, the company has sold over 14 million one-ton pick-ups, therefore it seems like a perfect fit.
"Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "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."
Nissan is currently developing the next generation of its own NP300 pick-up truck and it's understood that it will share a number of platform features with the Mercedes but will be engineered by Daimler to "meet the specific needs of its customers."
However, by sharing the costs of development, the partnership is also going to enable Renault to launch its first pick-up truck too. The French company promises that the finished vehicle, due to go on sale in 2016, will follow its own design philosophy -- i.e., there will be little doubt upon sight that it's a Renault.
At the beginning of April, when Mercedes first signaled its intentions to enter the pick-up market, it generated a huge level of excitement. The pick-up truck is the most popular vehicle in the US, and has been for the last 32 years. One in 10 cars sold every year in North America is one of a Ford F150, a Chevrolet Silverado or a RAM 1500 pick-up. And while this huge popularity means that highest specification trucks boast leather and wood interiors, it's a segment that is missing the Mercedes-Benz true premium touch.
Still, excited US pick-up fans might have to wait. The new car, which is expected to debut within the next three years will be sold initially in Europe, Australia and South Africa.