Weststar Associates, the sole general distributors of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Nigeria, is set to launch the new Mercedes X-Class pick-up into the Nigerian luxury class market. The German automaker intends to use it to bridge the gap between the luxury car market and commercial vehicles.
Mirko Plath, Managing Director of Weststar Associates, said that the company is pleased with the final unveiling of the concept trucks. “The X-Class pick-up trucks will be a formidable addition to our fleet. I believe they are perfect for the Nigerian market due to the broad range of needs to be met for different customers,” he said.
The Mercedes-Benz pick-up, which is hyped as the world’s first “premium double-cab bakkie,” made its debut in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 18, this year. Its global market launch will take place in October 2017. But the X-Class will be on sale in South Africa and other parts of Africa later in 2018. Mercedes says its new X-Class will be “the first bakkie you can access via your smartphone” courtesy of its new technology.
Speaking at the launch of the model in Germany, Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Daimler AG, and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said that the segment for mid-size pick-ups is ripe for a premium vehicle. “With the X-Class we will open up this segment to new customer groups, just as we redefined the off-road segment with the M-Class more than 20 years ago. Our pick-up convinces as a workhorse, yet also as a family and lifestyle vehicle. In short, the X-Class is the Mercedes among pick-ups,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz boasted that the model remains a leader in the segment. More like the Nissan Navara, the workhorse has a blend of commercial and passenger vehicle cabins with the vents, materials, steering wheel and infotainment system looking more like they were taken from cars, while the hard plastics and basic-looking auto gear shift look to have been stripped from a Sprinter van.
Mercedes has revealed the engine range for all markets. There are three 4-cylinder engines and a single 6-cylinder unit as follows: X 200 – 122kW/238Nm; X 220 d – 120kW/403Nm; X 250 d – 140kW/450Nm and X 350 d – 190kW/550Nm.
Mercedes projected that 1.1 million pick-ups would be sold each year by 2026, which would be an uplift of 43 per cent currently and follow in the footsteps of the recent rise in sport utility vehicles (SUV) sales.
Buyers will get the choice of three styling packs: Pure, Progressive, and Power, which ascend from an out-and-out workhorse you won’t mind getting grubby in a work yard to a chrome-covered truck that you’ll want to keep polished to keep up appearances.
It will be rear-wheel drive as standard, though there’s an option for all-wheel drive including hill-descent control for those that plan to go off the beaten track rather than a collection bay at B&Q. The engine line-up available to order from November, this year, is based on four and six-cylinder diesel motors only.
By Dike Onwuamaeze