Mercedes-Benz plans to enter the mid-sized bakkie, or pick-up, market as South Africa is regarded as one of its key markets, along with Latin America, Australia and Europe.
Mercedes-Benz sees strong sales potential in this one-ton segment and the new entrant will be positioned at the premium end of the Hilux/Ranger/Amarok, and developed by the Mercedes-Benz Vans division.
Given that the new bakkie is still years away, many of those specification questions will remain unanswered for now, as will the production locations.
It looks unlikely that East Londen would be picked as the plant simply doesn’t have the capacity.
MB Vans head Volker Mornhinweg expects the bakkie to offer a “high level of utility” as well as the comfort, safety and design attributes that one would expect from a Mercedes passenger car.
Board Chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche added: “We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”
Mercedes-Benz sees this as the perfect vehicle for expanding its global sales footprint, given that around the world more and more people are using these pick-ups as leisure vehicles and that buyers, both commercial and private, are increasingly asking for “car like” specifications.