With a tug, Volker Mornhinweg pulled a covering off a life-size clay model of the pickup truck that Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz intends to enter the global market for midsize haulers.
Before him stands a sporty double-cab vehicle with the tapered lines typical of Mercedes-Benz sedans and sport-utility vehicles. But this vehicle has a loading space big enough for any craftsmen’s tools or gear for an outdoorsy family’s weekend outing.
“Years ago, SUVs used to be, well, rough,” Mr. Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in an interview. “Then they became prettier. Now, we see the same trend in pickup trucks. We see opportunities to enter this market as the first premium brand.”
Mercedes-Benz declined to disclose details such as its investment or the vehicle’s launch date, but said it is making preparations to produce the vehicle “in large numbers” in various regions of the world within the next five years.
The truck will carry a payload of about one metric ton (2,200 pounds) and come with four- or six-cylinder engines. Mercedes-Benz is targeting Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe for its debut. It says there are no current plans for a U.S. launch.
Global sales of such midsize trucks were 2.34 million vehicles last year, according to IHS Automotive, a research group. The market is growing, but it isn’t booming. Sales are expected to rise to 2.83 million by 2020, says IHS.
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