HANNOVER, GERMANY. Introduced just weeks ago in Europe, the next generation of the mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Vito van will be coming to North American in late 2015, according to Daimler officials at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show. It will join the full-sized Sprinter, which has been sold in North America since 2001, as the second model for the newly created Mercedes-Benz Van division in the U.S. An even smaller MB van, the Citano, will not be adapted for the North American market, according to MBUSA Van managing director Bernie Glaser.
The Vito is targeted at urban and other applications that need a van smaller than the Sprinter and competitors like the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster, but larger than the more compact Ford Transit, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, Glaser said at a press briefing. Both cargo and passenger models will be offered in North America, but basic trim levels aimed at taxi and other applications in Europe will not.
The new Vito was introduced in Europe with a choice of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations powered by either gasoline or diesel engines. The North American version will be offered in rear-wheel drive only with a high-output 4-cyl. gasoline engine and the platform's long wheelbase. The mid-sized van may also get a new name for the U.S. and Canadian markets, but will be sold as the Vito in Mexico, according to Daimler.
Both cargo and passenger versions of the Vito headed to the U.S. will be manufactured in Spain. The cargo model will be disassembled for shipment to avoid import duties on light commercial trucks and then assembled in the MB Van Charleston, SC, plant that currently handles Sprinter reassembly. Unlike the Sprinter, which is sold under Freightliner and MB nameplates, the Vito will only be available through the MB van dealership network, according to Glaser.