Slow sales have killed off Mercedes’ venture into the premium bakkie market. Picture: SUPPLIED
Slow sales have killed off Mercedes’ venture into the premium bakkie market. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed long-running rumours that it will ditch the slow-selling X-Class, which has been in production for about two years.

"It has been decided that from the end of May 2020, we will no longer produce this relatively young model," Mercedes said in a statement. 

Customers weren’t prepared to pay a premium price for the double cab bakkie, which is based on a Nissan Navara.

Sales of the X-Class in 2018, its first full year on the market, were just 16,700 in Europe, Australia and SA, the only three countries where it is sold. Only 973 X-Class units were sold in SA last year.

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz Vans SA said: “In our global product portfolio, the X-Class is a niche product which plays a great role in a few markets, including Australia and SA.

The seven-seater GLS Maybach flagship SUV is part of a raft of new Benz models coming this year. Picture: SUPPLIED
The seven-seater GLS Maybach flagship SUV is part of a raft of new Benz models coming this year. Picture: SUPPLIED

“Already in the first quarter of 2019, we decided that the X-Class would not be built in Argentina as planned. The reason for this was, above all, that the price expectations of the Latin American customers have not been economically viable.

“Now it has been decided that from the end of May 2020, we will no longer produce this relatively young model.”

He said that the company will serve the current demand for the X-Class, service and warranty coverage will continue to be assured by Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Despite the demise of the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz reports that it had a profitable 2019 in SA and in global markets.

THE G-CLASS THAT’S ENJOYED 41 YEARS OF CONTINUED PRODUCTION WILL GET A LESS BRASH AND MORE ECONOMICAL G400D DERIVATIVE

The high-end carmaker concluded the year having grown sales by 1.3% to more than 2.3m units while also finishing top of the premium car pile in SA ahead of BMW and Audi.

According to Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars: “New models, particularly in the compact car and SUV segments, contributed to the success of Mercedes Benz in 2019.”

New additions in the past year include the A-Class Sedan, B-Class, CLA, CLS 53 and GLE, GLC and GLC Coupe, C63s, CLS53, E53 (Coupe, Cabriolet and Sedan), and the GT 4-Door.   

“The next years will also be characterised more than ever by the transformation of our industry, but we intend to maintain our market leadership and set the course for long-term competitiveness with investments in new technologies and customer centricity,” concluded Fritz.  

The premium brand which had its A-Class hatch winning the coveted SA Car of The Year award and voted as the "Coolest Motor Vehicle" brand in 2019 as awarded by the Sunday Times Gen Next, will in 2020 launch a flurry of new Mercedes-Benz models. These will include an all new, smarter looking GLA, the compact seven-seater GLB, a GLE Coupe enhanced with new tech, and the seven-seater GLS flagship SUV including an ultra luxurious Maybach version.

The G-Class that’s enjoyed 41 years of continued production will get a less brash and more economical G400d derivative while 2020 will also see a touched up E-Class range debut. The company also says it’ll finally unveil the fully electric EQC SUV which it promised to start selling as far back as March 2019.

From the AMG division expect the introduction of the A35 and A45 hot hatchbacks, the latter car likely to be available in A45 S guise using the world’s most powerful series turbo four-cylinder engine at 310kW. It’s claimed to dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.9 seconds. Fans of performance SUVs will be able to choose between the new GLC 43, GLE 53 and GLE 63 all in SUV and Coupe shape.

Also on the cards is a new Mercedes-AMG Black Series model which the company is keeping mum about, but everything hints at it being an AMG GT.