"In the US aligning the premium to the midsize is kind of a contradiction because a premium truck is a fullsize truck," he said in response to an Autoblog question at the Detroit Auto Show. "Therefore ... we do not see the US market as a relevant market or a suitable market for that truck."
The US luxury truck segment is dominated by Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram, with loaded-up and blinged-out models commanding high transaction prices while still offering strong levels of towing and hauling capability.
Still, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon reinvigorated the midsize truck market, and new versions of the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma have made it more competitive and offered consumers broader choices, though none are truly considered luxury vehicles.
"If there were opportunity for this product in the US, of course we would go for it," said Zetsche, who formerly led both DaimlerChrysler and its Chrysler division. "Our research so far tells us it's not there."
Mercedes revealed the Concept X-Class in October, previewing the model that will be sold in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and South Africa beginning this year. The company is marketing the truck two ways: as an urban lifestyle or family vehicle, and also as a truck for contractors, farmers, and off-roaders. Two different-themed versions were shown at the X-Class' debut in Sweden. The company has confirmed the truck will have a ladder-type frame, diesel engine, and 4Matic all-wheel drive, with more details to come.
Daimler, parent of Mercedes, is leaning on its alliance with Renault-Nissan to produce the truck, which is expected to share underpinnings with the Nissan Navara (another global midsize truck). The X-Class will be assembled in a Nissan factory in Spain and a Renault factory in Argentina.