Mercedes-Benz managed to get ahead of its peers, especially BMW, in the luxurious premium sector when it unleashed the 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class. Despite Mercedes’ bold move, BMW has yet to follow suit. But it might do so as its unit down under, BMW Australia, has been pleading with the German premium carmaker to come with a pickup that would challenge the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
Marc Werner, chief executive officer of BMW Australia, said in an interview with Car Advice that there is a real demand for pickup trucks in a number of global markets, such as Australia, South East Asia and Africa, as well as South America. He remarked that BMW simply cannot ignore this demand – not when chief rival Mercedes has entered the race.
During the interview, Werner told Car Advice that BMW Australia has been very pushy when it comes to utes or pick-ups, adding that the unit believes that the German carmaker should consider the matter. He remarked that BMW Australia has already taken the matter with the main headquarters, adding that BMW is already conducting studies. However, Werner said, it is remains too early to speak about the results of the investigation. He quipped that BMW Australia would be happy if BMW decides to build an ute for this market. Werner also said that BMW cannot just ignore or neglect market trends.
Werner noted to Car Advice that BMW Australia sold more than 150,000 utes in 2017, out of 1.1 million cars delivered overall. He quipped the pickup and ute segment posted a growth of 17 percent in 2017 in Australia. Werner added that a new pickup truck wouldn’t be at odds with the BMW brand, noting that the original BMW X5 was also met with a lot of complaints but later managed to post a great success.
The remarks given by Werner highlight the fact the pickups and utes are making a sales kill in Australia as well as the urgency for the BMW brand to act on that demand. His remarks also highlight the fact that even BMW’s top executives in Australia believe that it has to create and produce a new pickup, even just for this market.
Any new pickup from BMW is expected to be compared with the new Mercedes X-Class. Mercedes commenced sales of the 2018 X-Class in Germany in November 2017, as well as in Australia and South Africa this year. Sales of the X-Class in South America will begin in 2019. However, Mercedes isn't planning to bring the upscale pickup to the United States, for now.
The new Mercedes X-Class shares the same platform as the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan. According to Mercedes, the X-Class marries the typical attributes of a pickup -- like robustness, strength, functionality and off-road capabilities – with the classical Mercedes traits such as design, driving dynamics, comfort and safety.