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The Mercedes-Benz ute is coming


Move over, Volkswagen Amarok: your tenure as the ‘premium’ utility on the Australian market is limited.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s Diane Tarr has passed on today Stuttgart’s commitment that, by 2020, a midsize pickup will be launched by the German manufacturer. The focus markets will initially be Europe, Australia and Zealand, South Africa, and Latin America.

This is a response to what Mercedes is calling the ‘worldwide transformation’ in the ute segment, recognising that ‘more and more pickups are being used for private purposes, and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications’.

That’s a growing phenomenon in Australia, influenced by a number of things: more small businesses requiring the practicality of a ute; the tax breaks for small business owners that buy a utility vehicle rather than an SUV; and the cool, tough image that is unique to these high-riding, tray-bearing vehicles.

Right now, we’re also seeing the premium push in the utility market. The Amarok itself was representative of this – all models feature a Golf-like interior and the lineup carries a $65,000 Ultimate model with leather upholstery and satellite navigation. Toyota and Ford scrambled to catch up with their $60,000+ HiLux Black Series and Ranger Wildtrak models respectively.

There’s a market, and Chasing Cars sees it as a smart move that Mercedes-Benz would want to be there as the premium utility segment grows further. We just hope to see an entry sooner than the 2020 projection.

Mercedes-Benz Vans will be managing the project and tell us that we should expect to see ‘product testing in Australia’ over the coming years.

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