Twenty-four years ago, noted wearer-of-Givenchy-sweatsuits-with-burgundy-trim DJ Quik lamented that, thanks to the pervasive influence of gangster rap, everywhere he went was just like Compton. The same thing is happening with the American commercial-vehicle landscape. The first to fall was the hoary old unibody Dodge van, which yielded to the rust-prone Sprinter. Next was the E-Series, nee Econoline, which bowed-out this year in favor of the Euro-style full-sized Transit. Only the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana are left to carry the glinting banner on which waves the heraldic American-van shield of a bleeding hand (from trying to wrench on short-hood vehicles), a one-dollar bill (to signify the aggressive cost-cutting which has come to dominate that business) a bar of candy (calling to mind the child molesters and creeps who formed the tertiary van market) and the symbols “O-” (the old universal-donor blood type, required for anyone who crashed a van above walking pace).
Mercedes started this party in the USA, of course, but they’ve been late to the intermediate-van game. The Metris, announced at a work-truck show in Indianapolis, will fix that oversight.