The dual-cab Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute will be axed globally in May, less than three years after its global reveal and barely two years after its introduction to the Australian market.
“It has been decided that from the end of May 2020, we will no longer produce this relatively young model,” Mercedes-Benz said in a statement.
“In our global product portfolio, the X-Class is a niche product which plays a great role in a few markets, including Australia and South Africa.”
The X-Class is currently built alongside the Nissan Navara – the ute on which it’s based – in Barcelona, Spain.
The brand initially planned to produce its first dual-cab ute in Argentina, but pulled the pin on its South American plans early in 2019 because “the price expectations of the Latin American customers have not been economically viable”.
Mercedes-Benz says it will “serve the current demand” for its slow-selling rival to the Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, and Toyota HiLux, and promised “service and warranty coverage will continue to be assured by Mercedes-Benz Vans” for existing owners.
The dual-cab X-Class hasn’t yet seen its first facelift, and will fall well short of the eight-year life expected of most models when it’s axed in May – let alone the 12 or 13 years Volkswagen is likely to extract from its Amarok ute.
The Amarok – the only European rival to the X-Class in Australia – was revealed in 2010, and isn’t due for replacement until 2022/23.
The strong-selling Ford Ranger will be close to 12 years old when it’s replaced, likely in 2022, while the current Mazda BT-50 was first shown in 2011.
With just 2126 sales reported in 2019, up from 1545 in the final eight months of 2018, the X-Class owned just 0.1 per cent of the 4×2 ute market in Australia and just 1.2 per cent of the lucrative 4×4 ute market.
Nissan reported the 13,412 sales for the Navara in 2019, good for 8.4 per cent of the 4×2 market and 6.3 per cent of the 4×4 market.
Speculation about the X-Class’s future has been swirling since April 2019, when Mercedes-Benz boss Ola Källenius told Manager Magazin the brand would “end the cooperation” with Nissan because “almost all common businesses are in the red”.
Mercedes-Benz described the X-Class as a “niche product” at the time, and said in October 2019 it planned to continuously “review and analyse which further role the X-Class will play in our product portfolio”.