The compact van market in Europe outsells the U.S. with annual sales of 700,000 units. It then comes as no surprise that Mercedes-Benz will offer the Citan -- a new front-wheel-drive commercial van based on the successor to the compact Renault Kangoo -- in Europe. So far, Mercedes-Benz USA doesn’t intend to sell the Citan in the U.S.
Mercedes-Benz has released drawings of the Citan. It will debut this September at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany. Sales start this fall. The Citan is a combination of the words "city" and "titan.”
The Citan would be the smallest van in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup, which includes the Vario (the biggest van), followed in size by the Sprinter and Vito. The automaker forecasts that the Citan will attract 5% of the European market.
The automaker said that several commercial variants are in the plans, including a panel van and a crew bus, as well as several model lengths and weight classifications. There would also be gasoline, diesel and electric-drive models.
The Ford Transit Connect is the only compact, fwd van that’s available in the U.S. It is built in Turkey. In 2011, 31,914 units were sold in the U.S. It’s not a high seller but it is a profitable niche for Ford.
However, at least two compact, fwd competitors are about to enter the U.S. Nissan will present the NV200 Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show. Sales start this year. In 2013, Dodge will launch a compact van based on the Fiat Doblo.
It isn’t likely that there would be a fourth entry though. This segment will have lots of competition with the Transit Connect, as well as with the Nissan and Dodge compact vans. These are all targeted at customers in what’s expected to be a small market.
The Mercedes Benz Citan is the very first van designed by the Mercedes Group, specifically as a delivery vehicle for use in an urban environment. With its powerful engine and compact dimensions, the Mercedes Benz Titan’s size and maneuverability are perfect for city use where space is scarce and traffic is heavy. As expected from Mercedes vehicles, the Titan possesses high quality workmanship, excellent driving dynamics, impressive safety features, engine efficiency and economy. As a delivery vehicle, Mercedes design engineers added versatility and adaptability to its list of desirable characteristics, to become more suitable for its role as a multi-purpose urban delivery van.
This coming September 2012, the Mercedes Benz Citan will finally be officially unveiled at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover.
Choice of three lengths and three model variants
To emphasize its versatility and adaptability, the new Mercedes Bens Citan is available in three different lengths- 3.94 meters, 4.32 meters and 4.71 meters, to meet the varying requirements of its commercial customers. And to further address the demands of its prospective customers, Mercedes will release three model variants for the Citan— an urban delivery van variant, a five-seater Citan Mixto variant and a Citan Crew Bus variant.
The urban delivery van variant will be produced in the three available lengths while the Citan Mixto variant, which will be available in the 4.71-meter length, will be a variable 5-seater vehicle with two sliding doors, a folding rear bench and a wire mesh partition separating the load compartment. Lastly, the Citan Crew Bus variant, which will use the long wheelbase, shall also be a five-seater vehicle with folding rear seat bench and optional sliding doors on each side. The gross vehicle weight will vary depending on the model variant but will not be more than the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight of 2,200 kilograms.
An optional wide-opening tailgate will be offered as an alternative to the standard rear-end doors of the Citan. Similarly, options for roof rails and ladder hatch will also increase the Citan’s flexibility and versatility.