DUNTON, CO. When it’s new mid-size Metris van hits dealer showrooms in October, Mercedes-Benz Vans USA believes it will prove to be just the right size and price for the U.S. commercial van market, according to Bernie Glaser,VP and managing director of the new MB business division.
The large van market has already transitioned to European style trucks like MB’s Sprinter, the Ram ProMaster and the Ford Transit, but the small and mid-size segment is forecast to add about 100,000 units in the next few years, he said at a press briefing. “That’s why we think it’s the perfect time for us to come out with a van that’s not too big, but also not too small.”
While competitors have already introduced small vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, the Metris will have the European style mid-size segment to itself, according to Mathias Geisen, general manager for product management and marketing for the company’s US van division. Compared to the smaller trucks, the Metris will offer significant advantages such as a 5,000-lb. towing capacity, over 50% more payload capacity and 45% more cargo volume in an overall package that’s small enough to fit into a garage, he said.
Based on the MB Vito introduced in Europe two years ago, the new Metris will be powered by a 208-hp 4-cyl gasoline engine mated to a 7-spd. automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. By comparison, the Vito is diesel powered and available in front-, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. Mercedes developed the gas powertrain for the U.S. because it expects the new van to largely be used in city stop-and-go applications, according to Geisen.
The new van will also feature a number of standard advanced safety features such as crosswind assist, and load-adaptive electronic stability control. Optional safety features will include active parking assist, lane keeping assist, collision prevention assist, blind spot assist, and a rearview camera.
Available in both cargo and passenger versions, the Metris will be built at an MB van plant in Spain. The cargo version will then be partially disassembled and shipped to the company’s Charleston plant for reassembly to avoid a 25% import duty on commercial vans.
Dealers will begin taking orders for the Metris later this month, with deliveries scheduled to begin in Oct. Pricing for the cargo van starts at $28,950, and the passenger van starts at $32,500, according to the company