In 2010, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG embarked on a collaborative journey for various projects. The outcome with the most challenges was the attempt to conceive a luxury-focused pickup truck based on the Nissan Navara. This endeavor led to the birth of the X-Class, which commenced production at Nissan’s Spanish assembly plant in November 2017. Regrettably, less than three years later, due to dismal sales, the X-Class met its discontinuation.
Internally known as W470, this body-on-frame pickup underwent a modern design transformation by Digimods DESIGN. Drawing inspiration from the previous-generation Ford Ranger and the 2024 model year Mercedes GLC and GLC Coupe, the rendering showcases recognizable attributes, such as amber marker lights on the front wheel arch flares and badges on the front fenders.
The taillights and rear sliding window also found their origins with Mercedes, while the side-exiting exhaust pipe and narrow tires, coupled with chromed exhaust finishers, lend the rendering a somewhat rudimentary appearance. Admittedly, the real X-Class faced similar criticisms regarding its design.
Sales of the X-Class were underwhelming, with 16,700 units delivered in 2018, and a further decline to 15,300 units the following year. The truck struggled to gain traction in markets like Australia, South Africa, Europe, and notably, the United States, where Mercedes failed to establish a case for the X-Class. Despite AMG’s expertise, a V8 engine was never integrated into the model. Ultimately, Mercedes’ decision to discontinue the X-Class was justified.
Issues with reliability were compounded by the fact that the X-Class, positioned above the Navara, exhibited subpar plastics and an outdated interior design. In contrast, the A-Class boasted a far superior interior. This contrast raised the question of why Mercedes pursued the X-Class project.
The strategic misstep of attempting to position a Navara with a Mercedes-designed exterior and V6 engine as a luxury truck echoed past mistakes, such as Lincoln’s attempts with the Mark LT and Blackwood based on the F-150.
Mercedes’ expectations of thriving with a mid-size pickup in the European Union reflected a misunderstanding of the European automotive market. Pickup trucks lag significantly behind vans in terms of sales in this region. Moreover, a dominant player in the full-size van segment, the Transit, held sway in both the United States and Europe, surpassing competitors like Ram Promaster, Ford E-Series, Chevrolet Express, and GMC Savana in the first half of 2023.