All the signs point to the unveiling of a new Mercedes Benz van in the very near future. At the Design Centre, Sindelfingen, the ‘Citan’ formed part of a seminar aimed at highlighting the Mercedes brand and how that recognition could be fitted into the ergonomics of city driving.
The name is believed to have been derived from a combination of city and titan, clearly a message by the German manufacturer that they’re not taking the responsibility of adapting to changes for large cities logistical requirements lightly. As Euro 3 and Euro 5 legislation starts to dictate what models of commercial vehicle businesses who operate in the city are in the market for, Mercedes want to be a large part of that trade.
Currently, the light commercial vehicle market in Europe is heading towards three quarters of a million units. What Mercedes are aiming for is a share of between 4-5% of the sector. One thing is for sure, with the quality and reliability that is inherent with the brand, it will be interesting to see how the van insurance firms react to the Citan, when it is placed alongside the Bippers, new Kangoo ZE‘s and the smaller Berlingos. Will van drivers sacrifice their cheap van insurance policies on the established models for the luxury and status of driving a Merc to work, every day?
Well, if Mercedes realise the share that they believe they can capture with the release of this new van, 35,000 units based on the available figures of the current market, that’s a lot of van drivers who have to be tempted.
According to Volker Mornhinweg, however, it seems as if Mercedes have already taken into account the sensitive nature of budgets that businesses across Europe are still envisaging for the foreseeable future. City vans and minivans continue to grow in popularity and the price tag for the Citan will reflect this, combined with what the German auto giants believe the product can support for their name.
With the addition of around the clock customer service and breakdown call-out, Volker hopes that this Mercedes brand, after sales service and the competitive price will help achieve the sales that were forecast at the conference.
Like the much-loved Berlingo, the Citan will have one base product, a panel van, but can be configured into a crew-carrying version when bought from new (although described as a minibus, it will attract the same potential customers) and also comes in different lengths and payload capacities to suit the buyers’ business needs. However, it is expected to be more of a sturdy beast than its French counterpart, with a lot of space within the back of the van given over to space, despite the conservative dimensions.
In line with the LEZ and other major cities adopting Euro 3 levels for their maximum permitted CO2 levels there will be a fuel-efficient, low-emission diesel version, a standard petrol, the branded BlueEFFICIENCY maximum mpg version and there are plans to roll out an battery-powered electric driven van later on, too, possibly to rival the Kangoo, which seems to be the EV that looks like being the van to break the market if any one can.
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