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Hold onto your Hat, Jed Clampett: Mercedes nearly built a pickup truck

Nissan Titan

The fated Mercedes-Benz pickup would have delighted Jed Clampett of Beverly Hillbillies fame.

Mercedes-Benz was going to build and sell pickup truck. In fact, let me restate that: Mercedes-Benz was going to build and sell two pickup trucks.

That’s right. The minds at Mercedes had planned to rebadge both the Nissan Titan full-size pickup and the mid-size Frontier and sell them both as Mercedes luxury trucks both in North America and around the globe. The larger unit was to be destined for American shores while the smaller Frontier-based variant would have been sold in Australia, South America, and Asia.

The Mercedes pickups weren’t just an idea floating around a drab office in Germany either. Set for a 2016 launch date, designers were already working to re-sculpt the front fascia of the trucks and raise interior NVH to levels suitable for the Mercedes buyers.

The deal only recently fell through when Mercedes insisted it needed the capability to fit the trucks with a slew of powertrain options, including gasoline, diesel, hybrid, and plug-in hybrids. Nissan, however, simply didn’t provide a platform flexible enough to support such wide ranging drivetrain configurations. So the Germans backed out.

According to Road & Track, the idea for a Nissan-based luxury pickup hasn’t yet gone the way of the polar bear. Infiniti, Nissan’s arm of opulence, has adopted the idea for itself.

This isn’t the first swapping of steel between Mercedes and Renault/Nissan. The recently unveiled Infiniti Q30 is underpinned by the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class architecture and the next-gen Smart cars are built on the Renault Twingo chassis.

Frankly, we’re not sure what to think of a Mercedes-Benz pickup. If designers had given it the nose of the G Wagon, we would have loved it. Give it the face of the GL, though, and it very well could have given small children PTSD. Sadly, we’ll never know either way.

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