A few days ago, Mercedes released a short video featuring their new X Class. (I can only assume the X stands for Xpensive.) The ad features lightning, crashing waves, and prancing horses, the kind of imagery marketing firms conjure to make the viewer feel emotions, without actually saying anything.
Now, Mercedes claims that the X Class is the first purpose-built luxury pickup. (Have they never seen an MKT?) You may be wondering if there's a market for such a vehicle, and to find that answer, we have to go back in time.
The year is 1979, Disco is still going strong, and Mercedes releases a rugged military vehicle known as the Galaendawagen. It proves to be a tough and reliable off-road vehicle for over 20 years. Skip ahead to 2002. Disco is dead, Justin Timberlake is the new hotness, and Mercedes finally decides to release the civilian G Class onto the US market. Over the course of a few years, this utility truck becomes the car of choice for rappers and food bloggers. Wikipedia also tells me that a G Class was featured in the film Sex and the City 2. I'm sure Mercedes is just fine with this new clientele, as they continue to sell G Wagens to this day. That's a production run almost twice the length of the Model T.
The unfortunate side effect of having a rich, tasteless, customer base, is that the once spartan vehicle got a bunch of needless features. Cushy interiors to make the ride to daycare more bearable, expensive sound systems to drown out the screaming children, and a bunch of chrome bits to do... something. The AMG version even comes with comes with alloy rims, and sidepipes, to make going off road all but impossible.
When Mercedes tells people that the X Class is the world's first luxury pickup, I believe that they are trying to carry over the torch from the current bloated G Wagen. The X will probably have a bunch of off-road features that never get used, and it will probably have a ridiculous price tag. Which people will pay, as long as they don't realize that their superior German car is being built at a Nissan factory in Spain.
It's currently up in the air whether or not the X Class will be sold in the US, and I think it would be a big mistake not to. This new vehicle seems like the perfect fit for our truck and bling obsessed culture, especially as oil prices continue to drop. I personally feel the existence of the X Class is unnecessary, but I'm sure Mercedes will be able to sell every single one.