In the US, the Ford Motor best-selling Transit Connect small cargo van leads the segment, but its rule might get an unlikely contender in the person of the soon to be introduced Mercedes-Benz Metris MPV.
Mercedes-Benz Vans USA, the commercial division of the German automaker, the third biggest in the world when it comes to luxury cars, introduced this week the midsize Metris at a work-truck show this week in Indianapolis – while all eyes were pointed towards the glistering Geneva International Motor Show. A tall Euro-style cargo van, the Metris is an unknown competitor on the market for one simple reason – it’s a new nameplate. Its design is though already familiar, being known in other parts of the world as the V Class or Vito. It also boasts an unlikely bragging right – it’s the cheapest US market Mercedes-Benz model, with prices starting at $29,945. That’s for the commercial van variant though – people carriers go off at $33,495, both prices with shipping included.
Back in 2009 the Ford Transit Connect set up the US small-van segment, with prices going as low as in the $22,000-range. Ford commended a sizeable chunk of the segment last year, with 43,210 units delivered, a surge of 8.8 percent over the previous year. The segment is also fast on the rise, with new entrants from Nissan, Chevrolet and Ram. Mercedes has opted to position the Metris as the largest of the bunch, with the wheelbase being 13 inches larger than the one sported by the Transit Connect – which should bring in another 880 more pounds of cargo capacity. The Metris also boasts some of the best Mercedes features, such as a 208-hp gasoline engine that sends power through a seven-speed automatic transmission and a long list of safety systems – including eight airbags for the passenger version and six for the cargo variant.
Via Automotive News