Daimler's surprise announcement that it will launch a Mercedes-Benz pickup by 2020 contained no technical details, but offered one major clue: The midsize truck will be built by the company's commercial vans division.
That means there's a good chance the pickup will be based on the bones of the midsize Vito van that will be launched as the Metris this fall in the United States.
Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Christian Bokich said there are no plans to sell the pickup here, but at Mercedes-Benz of Plano in Texas, the sales staff chattered Friday, March 27, about the possibility.
"My dad has always been a die-hard Ford truck man, but he said if Mercedes ever built a pickup, he'd buy one," said Brandon Reininger, Internet sales manager. "I don't think we'd sell thousands, but I wouldn't have a problem pushing it."
The Wall Street Journal reported the vehicle will be built with four- and six-cylinder engines. The Vito-Metris is also offered with those two sizes of engines. One version of the Vito-Metris is offered with rear-wheel drive -- essential for a pickup -- and another with all-wheel drive.
"This is going to be smaller than the Sprinter," said AutoPacific Inc. analyst Dave Sullivan. "If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it will possibly be built off the Vito in Spain."
Mercedes officials were not saying much about the truck's specs. But the company has been eyeing the growing global market for midsize trucks. The company said the midsize truck will be aimed initially at four markets: Latin America, Australia, South Africa and Europe.
In those markets, the Mercedes pickup would compete against the Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Hilux trucks.
Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said in a statement. "The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets."