More Van News From Mercedes-Benz

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
more van news from mercedes benz

Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.

On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.

“The new Citan will undergo a comprehensive new development and clearly be recognisable [sic] as a Mercedes-Benz at first glance. We will provide for a distinctive brand-adequate identity in the successor of our small van,” explained Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

If the phrase “brand-adequate identity” left you flummoxed, we’ll explain. The current Citan is technically a rebadged Renault Kangoo II. The duo even share an assembly line in France. Breitschwerdt’s wording is a reminder that this will carry over when it comes time to build a successor.

Is it wise? Well, Daimler has already received some criticism that the Citan doesn’t improve on the Kangoo enough to warrant its substantially higher price tag — something that’s reflected in Renault’s larger sales numbers. Other rebadged vehicles from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance have also bitten MB in the past. Reengineering Nissan’s Navara into the Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup was clearly a mistake. Despite putting quite a bit behind the model’s launch, the truck has been underperforming and is reportedly being considered for termination. There are even rumors that Mercedes’ leadership plans on dissolving the partnership by simply not renewing commitments.

That places an asterisk beside the next-gen Citan’s product announcement. If Daimler seriously wants it built, it may have to buy more time with Renault. But the only upside we see from the partnership is more jobs for Nissan’s powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee and Mercedes getting a steady supply of entry-level motors… many of which are too small to be a hit in North America. The Citan isn’t likely to grace our shores, either.

That makes the story here less about getting you throttled up for a van you’ll probably never consider buying and more about assessing Mercedes-Benz Vans’ current business strategy. Daimler is positioning itself for some hefty restructuring, with layoffs estimated to surpass 10,000. That makes it slightly odd to see the brand announce a new model with ties to Renault when a core aspect of the plan was rumored to involve cutting those business ties.

It’s a tad confusing. But Mercedes claims the new Citan is en route, so we’ll stick with that for now. Renault’s Kangaroo III is believed to enter production late in 2020, meaning we probably have until then to see if Daimler changes its mind. Details on the vehicles are minimal, with the only confirmation being both vans will come with (small) internal-combustion powertrains and at least one electrified variant.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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6 of 16 comments
  • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Aug 27, 2019

    The Citan is mainly sold to businesses which already make use of other Mercedes-Benz products such as the Sprinter, Vito, Axor, Actros, Econic and so forth. All of these vehicles can be easily serviced at the next Mercedes-Benz dealership which makes this an easier affair than if the business had bought the Renault Kangoo on which this is based. My brother runs a taxi business and I believe has one or two Citans in his fleet which have been converted to handle disabled customers and their wheelchairs. Along with the V-Klasse/Vito, that is a good purpose for these cars.

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    • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Aug 29, 2019

      @Inside, The Citan is made in France is memory serves me right. Renault actually makes very good cars nowadays. The reason to get a Citan over a Ford, VW and so forth is because of the ease of servicing if you have a Mercedes-Benz fleet, and commercial customers get discounts. The Citan also offers some features which you cannot get on a Renault Kangoo.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Aug 28, 2019

    I realize that North America has spat out every small passenger MPV that the world has tried to bless it with. But I'd like to be one of the five weirdos in America who'd buy a Renault Kangoo with a highly improbable three-pointed star on the snoot.

  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.