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The X-Class (in keeping with the Mercedes-Benz naming pattern) is expected to come to market late in 2017 -- likely as a 2018 model year product -- with key markets being Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and South Africa. There's no mention yet of its being marketed in the US, probably because it's based on the Nissan Navara (the mid-sized pickup sold as the Frontier in the Americas), whose smaller size doesn't seem as attractive to North American consumers.

It will be built at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, initially, for Europe, South Africa and Australia, and then out of Argentina for the South American markets in 2018.

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"With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio," said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "We want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."

"As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design -- in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star," added Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before."

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Two concepts were shown at the debut -- a rugged off-roader and a more stylish boulevard cruiser -- and although they had the futuristic design cues of concepts, the front ends, pickup bed sizes and 4-door, 5-seat cabins are pretty much set for production.

Details are still a little up in the air, but Mercedes did reveal that they would be powered by 6-cylinder engines and equipped with the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system. A ladder frame platform will endow the pickups with a payload rating of one tonne and a tow rating of 3.2 tonnes.