Mercedes Teams With Nissan to Build a Midsize Pickup Truck

Apr 08, 2015 08:38 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Mercedes-Benz has decided to enter the pickup truck market, but for some reason the luxury automaker might not sell its truck in the U.S.

Mercedes parent Daimler AG is looking to expand its partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance to create a mid-size pickup truck to help the German automaker compete for sales against BMW.

The pickup will feature a double cab and targets both "commercial and private clients" in Europe, Australia, Latin America and South Africa, according to joint statements released by the automakers on Tuesday.

That's right folks, no mention of North America, where pickups are more popular than ever due to low gas prices.

The 1-ton pickup will be roughly based on the NP300 Navara, a midsize truck that isn't sold in the U.S. A recently-released sketch of the truck shows a pickup bed in the rear and a front end that resembles an SUV.

"Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in a company statement. "Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path."

When asked if there is a chance the truck could reach the states, Mercedes-Benz USA Head Steve Cannon said it could be awhile.

"It wouldn't come until, at the earliest, the '18, '19 time frame," Cannon said last week in New York, according to Reuters. "We've got time to look at the market and decide."

Mercedes-Benz's 1-ton pickup will be built by Nissan along with the Nissan NP300 in Cordoba, Argentina for Latin America. Production is expected to start by 2020. 

Mercedes, Nissan and Renault have all shared plants, vehicle underpinnings and engines for smaller vehicles since the companies reached a partnership five years ago. Since then their partnership has grown from just three vehicles to 13.

"Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment," Zetsche added.

The trucks will also be built in Barcelona, Spain for other markets, not including North America, according to the release.

The Barcelona plant is expected to make about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three companies, and the Cordoba plant will manufacture almost 70,000 vehicles each year.

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