By on November 13, 2013
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Though the company is officially mum on the topic, sources within Mercedes-Benz tell Automotive News that it may sell the next generation of its V-Class European passenger van (sold as the Viano in some markets) and Vito commercial van in the United States. The new trucks go on sale in Europe next year and could arrive in the States the following year. If it were to be sold here, it would be the only rear wheel drive competitor in a segment that includes the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna. It’s also a bit larger than a U.S. market minivan.

The Vito, which is smaller than Mercedes’ Sprinter commercial van, would compete with the Ford Transit and the Nissan NV 200, which is also being marketed as the Chevrolet City Express.

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The V-Class and Vito share a platform, and both will be offered with all wheel drive. Four or six cylinder engines will be available. The new van and will have a more carlike and luxurious interior than the outgoing model, with features like wood decor, ambient lighting, advanced electronics and a panoramic glass roof.

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31 Comments on “Mercedes Benz May Bring Next Gen RWD V-Class Minivan to U.S....”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I like any new minivan offering, and the new U.S. competition. Exterior is nice, but I don’t like the IP. Looks like “bulging pants.” And is that flat-screen an afterthought?

    “V Class?” How many vampires does it carry?

  • avatar
    Garak

    I don’t really think Viano is a minivan, but maybe they try to market it that way. “Passenger van” sounds perhaps too agricultural. Hopefully they manage to fix some of the quality issues plaguing Vitos.

  • avatar
    7402

    Drove one of these in Spain a couple years ago. Stripper model. Diesel manual FTW.

    If they can present a range from stripper to luxury and price the options right, I might buy one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Looks like “Son of R-class”. Was stuck behind an R-class in traffic about a week back. Wife says: “WTF is that?”

    I said: “Its a Mercedes minivan, except its not.”

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      My wife’s reaction is “I still want one of those, you know” to which I reply “If only they had made it with sliding doors, maybe”

      (We see them several times a week, they’re downright common here. I would have also preferred the diesel version to not require AWD configuration)

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Might as well just get a Pacifica. I was convinced that they were the same DaimlerChrysler mishmash for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        All the driving dynamics of a minivan, with the spaciousness of a small hatchback!

        • 0 avatar
          OM617

          Not at all. We had a Pacifica and it drove far more like a Mercedes sedan than a contemporary Caravan. No jiggles, flex or crashing suspension. Very smooth and well dampened. Less suspension travel than an SUV. It was also quite spacious. Lots of rear leg room and space behind the seats when raised. The downsides where the enemic engine choices (esp with the 3.8L) and the rearward visibility. Its the only Chrysler product we wished we’d kept after lease.

          From wikipedia (not the best source, but summarizes well) “The Pacifica was widely praised for its carlike ride and handling, as its sophisticated suspension soaked up the bumps well, while the steering was fairly crisp and linear.”

      • 0 avatar
        OM617

        I’ve spent time in both. The R-class never felt like it warranted the price difference.

      • 0 avatar
        blowfish

        yes they were separated at birth thats all. Neither the R nor the Pacifica sold too well.

  • avatar
    Ion

    It sounds like if they bring one here it will be more of a work van than a minivan. In that case I don’t expect it to do anything more than bolster the Sprinter line.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I sincerely hope they bring this here for a couple years and then it fails. Because I really want one a couple years later for $20k. I call this the “R-Class investment strategy”

    Merc is already taking at least as much as gamble on the CLA, so this would only make the same sense (or nonsense). I’ve always said they needed to expand their very limited, staid luxury image in the US and extend into some new lines where the direct competition isn’t going. And if the plan fails, there’s probably a decent sized livery market for these, just like in Europe.

    OTOH, can they really offer something that a loaded $45k Odyssey doesn’t already have? It’s a tough segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The CLASS makes more sense. As long as Mercedes-Bemz provides a positive and exclusive experience for the young upwardly-mobile people that might buy them, the brand can later on sell them larger and more profitable cars like the GL-Class and S-Class as they become more affluent. This, however, is bound to look cut-rate if the price is lowered to compete with what’s already on sale. And I really wouldn’t want a RWD minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        What was the last RWD minivan, the Astro? So that’d be 2005, though I’m always shocked/appalled they produced them that long.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          Yep, Astro/Savana, which was really just a 1500 pickup with a full van body on it.

          Before that, the Previa was probably the last “true minivan” with RWD. I sort of miss that suppository shape.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I think you mean Astro/Safari. Savana is a full size available with LS V8 powa.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The Previa also had a supercharged engine. But I believe Infiniti is adding some kind of supercharged four-cylinder mated to an electric motor as a hybrid system on the QX60, so there’s that…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            1st gen Mazda MPV (on mazda 929 bones) lasted until 1998 here in the US. Coil sprung 5-link solid rear axle with optional air shocks. Conventional F/R layout. Ford Aerostar was cut in 1997 as I recall, so was the Previa. I’d argue the Astro is a bit bigger than mini-van sized.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “CLA”, not “CLASS”

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      The CLA is paying off I see tons of them. The problem is they look like a 30000 Mercedes particularly in the back bumper and rims. If brand dilution is what you’re worried about I wouldn’t fret. Porsche isn’t any less well regarded thanks to the Boxster, Cayenne, or Panamera.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Gosh they do look cheap. I’d rather spend the same money on a 3 year old larger Benz than have a smushed bargain basement new one.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I’d rather drive a used Camry with leathet seats, power everything, and a sunroof!

          Pray tell what, other than a more circular logo on the trunk, does one get when buying a Mercedes?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The ability to say “That’s MY Mercedes”.

            Do not underestimate the appeal of this – no one ever felt better about themselves looking at their Camry sitting in the driveway.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    In the town where I live, well optioned Honda Odysseys are popular with young professionals in the private school/country club set. I can see a Mercedes minivan finding some takers in this demographic, though the potential market is not that big.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Same here. A $45k Odyssey with leather seats is modest on the outside, and luxurious on the inside.

      Plus, my boss drives one.

      It’s a good match for the culture of the midwestern college town where I live. Those who arent students usually end up living a fairly kid-centric lifestyle.

      I don’t see Mercedes breaking in to this market here, unless they’re comparably priced with the Toyota/Honda vans. There are a few people here who like bling, but they already have traditional bling that they seen to like.

      That said, I welcome competition in what is now my favorite segment. I’d rather be stereotyped as a bland Toyota owner woth kids than a luxury car person, though, so it would be hard sell a Mercedes minivan to me personally. I’m practical, and the main things I’m willing to pay extra for are longevity and serviceability. Mercedes’ value proposition doesnt look so good in thst light, even though I can afford one and I generally match the “next generation of luxury car buyers” demographic.

      Bringing a value proposition that beats the T&C/Sienna/Odyssey trifecta seems to be quite a challebge. This is a practical segment that isnt particularly inage concious. I wish them luck. They’ll need it!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    One of the B&B recently argued that the Porsche Cayenne’s existence was tantamount to Jaguar making a minivan. Well, lo and behold, it isn’t Jaguar…but it’s nearly as bad.

    I honestly can’t see the business case for this vehicle. With the demise of the R-Class (which seats six or seven?) there is a void in Mercedes-Benz’ lineup for people who want a seven-seater, but who don’t want to pony up for the giant GL-Class (although even the M-Class is expensive in its own right), however customers are not going to want a minivan. The commercial car might work—if it doesn’t costs twice as much as the competition—but the V-Class will likely have a lower take rate than the R-Class “mommy-wagon,” not to mention that it won’t do the brand any favors in terms of reputation. People’s idea of a Mercedes-Benz isn’t and shouldn’t be a minivan. It’s too far-fetched. In no way would it be able to compete with the current minivans on sale without looking very watered-down. And it’s RWD-based too? Forget it.

    The product planners at Daimler have been smoking something, and it’s not sausage…

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    OK I will buy it, so long as it is less than $60K and I don’t have to remove the interior to change the battery.

    Probability: when pigs fly in frozen hell.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If it doesn’t take too much for federalization, they might as well bring it here. A few women will buy them here, if they want to impress the neighbors when they pull up at some local establishment.

    I feel this would do better in Canada than the US. They like different Merc products, B-Class and whatnot. Plus didn’t Derek say the R-Class did well there?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The write-up on the Viano on Wikipedia is brief. What it does mention is that this product is available with all-wheel-drive. An all-wheel-drive small commercial van could be interesting. An all-wheel-drive MPV that’s the size of a Mazda 5 could be interesting.

    I’m not sure how big the appeal of all that would be, but given that a lot of people I know with degrees from hot shot schools are convinced they need all-wheel-drive 365 days are appropriate for those seven or eight days it snows but the plows clear it out before lunch….

    Yeah. Mercedes-Benz can sell this, er, lease it around here….

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Went with 9 Others in a Diesel Viano to the Italian Dolomites. It was a a little bit more spacious than the old Dodge Van, but it flew along the Autostrada.


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