V6 Benz ute on show
CASHED-UP tradies have started placing orders for the first ever Mercedes-Benz ute a year before it goes on sale and before anyone knows the price.
Demand in Australia is so strong, Mercedes-Benz has taken the unprecedented step of airfreighting a display car Down Under to give buyers an early preview and also get their feedback on what they want in a workhorse.
While Mercedes is busy researching fleets and blokes, it is also trying to target female buyers.
“Utes are becoming gender neutral,” Mercedes-Benz spokesman David McCarthy said.
“They’re just like an SUV to drive these days. They’re no longer only for tradies,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz Australia says it has been caught offguard by the demand so far ahead of a new car’s showroom arrival.
Mercedes has never before brought out a display car a year ahead of the local launch of a new production model.
“There are more people lining up for this ute than any other future model we’ve revealed,” Mr McCarthy said.
Extensive research among fleet buyers indicates the Benz ute won’t only be for the wellheeled.
“While the most interest from customers has been in the premium models, there will also be a choice for people who need a tool-of-trade vehicle,” Mr McCarthy said.
The Benz ute shares some of its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara but will be crammed with Mercedes safety and technology.
Prices are yet to be confirmed, but the Benz ute is expected to sit alongside the dearer versions of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes, which cost in excess of $60,000.
Last month utes filled four of the top 10 sales spots.
Last year the Toyota HiLux was the nation’s top selling ‘car’ outright, the first time ever a ute has led the Australian market.
The Mercedes ute will feature a V6 diesel engine.