Mercedes-Benz Vans USA enters US small-van segment with Metris

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 13, 2015

Mercedes-Benz Vans USA, the commercial arm of the German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz, recently unveiled the Metris midsize Euro cargo van. It will have a starting price of $29,945 while it passenger versions will have a tag of $33,495; both include shipping. It will challenge segment leader Ford Transit Connect small cargo van, which established the small-van segment in the United States in 2009, as well as entries from Nissan, Chevrolet and Ram.

In 2014, Ford sold 8.8 percent more Transit Connects over 2013 at 43,210 units. When it arrives in the US in October, the Metris will be the largest of the small Euro vans, having a wheelbase that is around 13 inches longer than the Transit Connect.

According to Mercedes, the additional length will allow Metris to carry 880 more pounds of cargo than the Ford’s small van. The Metris, also known globally as the Vito, will be powered by a 208-hp gasoline engine paired to a seven-speed automatic gearbox and will come with a pack safety features.

Cargo versions of the Metris will feature six airbags, while its passenger variants will have eight. Its cargo versions will be stripped of their powertrains, fuel tanks and batteries and shipped to the Daimler Vans’ Ladson site in South Carolina reassembly -- to avoid the 25 percent tariff known as the “chicken tax.”

Mercedes expects the Metris to help it boost increase its van sales in the US to about 50,000 units annually.

“It’s only logical that we employ a global approach and expand our successful Mercedes-Benz Vans product range to the U.S.,” says Bernie Glaser, Vice President and Managing Director of Daimler Vans USA. [source: Mercedes-Benz]

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