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Mercedes plans a ute

By Barry Park, 01 Apr 2015 News

Mercedes plans a ute

Car-like pick-up being considered as Mercedes-Benz eyes cashed-up tradies

MERCEDES-Benz is gearing up to offer a choice of trade utes in Australia, with the luxury car and commercial vehicle maker revealing plans for a classy one-tonner that could one day sell here alongside its tough military-grade load-lugger.

The German company has several of its G Professional work utes – versions of the rough-and-tough G-Wagen military vehicles it sells to the Australian army – in testing with government departments as it builds a viable business case for the vehicles.

Now Mercedes-Benz has revealed it also wants to build a softer, more city-centric ute, which it classes as a pick-up, aimed at “commercial as well as private users” who will be “increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications”.

The carmaker says Australia – where trade utes feature prominently among the top 10 monthly bestsellers – will be one of the key markets for the new ute.

The Benz-badged workhorse will be on sale “before the end of the decade”, the company says, creating what it claims will be the first premium ute in the segment.

It could even be monstered by Benz’s AMG tuning arm, similar to the G55 AMG wagon that provides tyre-smoking performance in a boxy, utilitarian package.

Until the Benz-badged workhorses arrive, joining the VW Amarok as the most expensive utes in Australia is likely to be the facelifted Ford Ranger, due later this year with the potential to jump above $65,000 once buyers add a raft of electronic driver aids aimed at making the weekday workhorse/weekend plaything more city-friendly.

One of the struggles Mercedes-Benz faces with the G Professional ute is its cost, with the showroom sticker price for the utilitarian, off-road capable vehicle with a hose-out interior likely to be its circa $80,000 pricetag.

No price estimates for the ute have been revealed.

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