Late last month, Mercedes-Benz announced it that would be building its first one-tonne ute. Now we know that, for this endeavour, the German luxury car maker will be getting a little help from its friends, Renault and Nissan.
After much speculation, the three companies announced today that they would work together to develop and build the new Mercedes-Benz-branded one-tonne ute.
In statement to the media, Daimler described the new car thusly: "The Mercedes-Benz pickup will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300 [Navara] but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features."
The next-generation Nissan Navara was launched in the middle of 2014, and will be arriving in local showrooms soon. The new Navara, which is also sold as the Frontier in some markets, is currently being produced at Nissan's plants in Thailand and Mexico.
Engineers from the two halves of the Renault-Nissan alliance are currently hard at work developing a Renault-branded and -styled model based on the new Navara. The Renault ute will debut in 2016, and will initially be produced alongside its Japanese cousin in Nissan's factory in Mexico.
All three ute relations will be manufactured by Renault in Argentina for South America. Nissan's plant in Barcelona, Spain, will churn out Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Nissan utes for the export to the rest of the world.
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chairman, says that by employing Nissan's expertise and new truck platform, as well as utilising production capacity at various Renault-Nissan plants, Mercedes-Benz is "able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment".
It's not yet known how many utes Mercedes-Benz plans to shift annually, but the partners have stated that across all three marques the Barcelona factory will churn out 120,000 utes per year, while the Cordoba, Argentina site will produce 70,000 utes per annum.
As hinted at by the initial rendering supplied by Mercedes-Benz last month (above), the three-pointed star brand will offer its ute as a double-cab model.
It's expected that the Mercedes-Benz ute will arrive in Australian showrooms from early 2018. The company says that its new ute will target both personal use and commercial clients.
Sales have so far been confirmed for Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America. The only market explicitly ruled out, at this point in time, is the USA.
Thanks to our friends at TopSpeed for the Mercedes-Benz ute rendering seen at the top of this article.