It will likely become the coolest new pickup truck that Americans won't ever be allowed to buy – the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz, says it is bringing the latest concept version of its first pickup to the Geneva Motor Show later this month as a luxury midsize model.
When it hits showrooms later this year, X-Class will be sold in what Mercedes says are a bunch of "key markets," and the U.S. isn't included (for the moment). They are Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand and Europe.
Photos: Mercedes-Benz to show off its X-Class pickup truck concept
"With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio," said Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
The concept version being shown in Geneva will be more upscale than the one seen last year at an event in Sweden. It will be made at Nissan and Renault plants under an agreement that Mercedes-Benz has hammered out.
If it were to come to the U.S., it would be unique. There are no luxury brands among major pickup truck models. Instead, Detroit's Big 3 automakers, plus Nissan and Toyota, make premium versions of their full-size trucks. Plus, the market for midsize trucks is dwarfed by demand for the bigger ones. There were 2.2 million full-size pickups sold last year, compared to about 450,000 that fall into the midsize category, Autodata reports.
There's a reasonable chance that the truck will come to the U.S. if midsize pickups continue to make gains, says Mark Williams, editor of PickupTrucks.com. "It would make sense to be (in the U.S.) if the market keeps on its steady growth," Williams said.
Mercedes is promising that X-Class won't be dainty. It will have underbody guards to protect components from rocky terrain, an electric winch for pulling the truck out of trouble and 22-inch wheels for extra ground clearance. The brand says the one-ton pickup will have seating for five.