Mercedes X-Class discontinued – posh pickup production ends

  • Premium pickup has failed to attract enough buyers
  • Production ends May 2020, last orders February
  • Nissan underpinnings and price likely to blame

Mercedes-Benz X-Class - production discontinued in May 2020

It’s been rumoured for months, but now it is official: Mercedes-Benz is to end production of its X-Class pickup in May 2020.

The Mercedes X-Class, which entered the UK market as the most expensive pickup you could buy, has struggled to attract significant numbers of customers since it was launched in 2017.

So now, just three years later, it’s being discontinued. The full official statement from Mercedes is below.

Why has Mercedes discontinued the X-Class?

It just hasn’t hit the spot as far as customers are concerned, selling only 16,700 examples in Europe, Australia and South Africa in its first full year of production in 2018.

The problems seem to stem from two related factors. Firstly, it’s expensive for what is at heart a working vehicle, and secondly too many potential buyers have proven all too aware that it is based on the Nissan Navara – which is significantly cheaper.

So regardless of the fact that Mercedes did a great deal of re-engineering of the Navara’s chassis and other components – and later added a powerful 3.0-litre V6 X 350 d model – it seems that very few people were willing to pay the price to get that three-pointed star.

It also failed to win any major awards after its introduction, often losing out to the Volkswagen Amarok, the only other pickup on sale in the UK to still offer a V6 engine option, and the X-Class’s closest rival.

That the Amarok is substantially cheaper, too, and available with a more powerful engine (the range-topping VW has an overboost function that takes it up to 272hp and 580Nm for short periods) presumably hasn’t helped the X-Class gain traction.

On top of this, the increasing importance of emissions targets for vehicle manufacturers may also have played its part; pickups are among the very worst offenders when it comes to exhaust emissions, and killing off a high CO2 output model like the X-Class is one easy way to bring down Mercedes Vans' overall average.

We believe that it's for similar reasons to this that VW is discontinuing the Amarok in 2020, too; last registrations for this are the end of August, just before the Euro 6.2 targets come fully into force.

Official statement from Mercedes-Benz on the cancellation of the X-Class

This comes in the form of the following list:

  • As you will already know, we [Mercedes-Benz Vans] continuously check our product portfolio.
  • With the X-Class launch in 2017, Mercedes-Benz entered into a new segment and presented a mid-size pickup. We drew in a lot of attention with this vehicle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We will of course, serve the current demand for the X-Class.
  • What's more, service and warranty coverage will continue to be assured by Mercedes-Benz Vans.
  • Please understand that we cannot provide any further information in this respect.

Is the X-Class still available to order?

You can still order one at the time of writing (31 January 2020) but Mercedes will stop taking orders for the X 350 d range-topping model on 11 February 2020. Hardly anyone orders the four-cylinder models in the UK anyway.

Does the end of the X-Class mean that pickup sales are struggling in general?

The pickup market is supposed to be a big growth area that many manufactures were clamouring to enter around about the time the X-Class was launched. It still performs well, but in the UK it was steady rather than booming in 2019, and we’re not expecting this to change any time soon.

The Amarok did see its UK sales increase in 2019, but signs that VW also finds this sector a challenge are evident in its plans to join forces with Ford, which will see the next-generation Amarok based on the same technology as the next-generation Ford Ranger – though this is part of a wider strategy of cooperation between the two brands on light commercial vehicles.

Also read:

>> Mercedes-Benz X-Class full review

>> Volkswagen Amarok full review

>> New pickups coming soon

>> The Parkers pickup group test