Mercedes Benz mulls North American potential for pick up trucks

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STUTTGART Daimler's (DAIGn. DE) Mercedes-Benz Vans division is looking closely at a growing demand in the United States for mid-sized pick-up trucks to see whether there is market potential to launch its X-Class model there, divisional head Volker Mornhinweg said on Friday. Mercedes-Benz Vans has already developed a mid-sized pick-up truck to be sold in South America and Europe, but has so far shied away from launching it in the United States because customers there have traditionally preferred full-sized vehicles. However, a recent shift in the United States back towards mid-sized trucks was encouraging, Mornhinweg said at a news conference in Stuttgart.

"In the past year the mid-sized truck market has come back a bit. General Motors (GM. N) is launching a mid-sized truck. We are watching developments very closely, and we will take a decision at the appropriate time," Mornhinweg said.

Asked where Mercedes might build the pick-ups for sale in the United States, Mornhinweg said that its current production capacity in Argentina was unlikely to be sufficient to serve the U.S. market. A new production site in the United States was likely to be considered, he added.