Mercedes Pulling Metris Van From U.S. Market

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mercedes pulling metris van from u s market

Reports that Mercedes would be removing its Metris van from the U.S. market emerged over the weekend, with the German automaker confirming the decision.

Despite carrying a larger price tag than the competition (starting around $35,000), the Metris often compares favorably from behind the wheel when the maximum cargo capacity and price aren't the chief concerns. Unfortunately, those tend to be very important items when people are shopping for working vehicles and the Metris' sales numbers have reflected that. Mercedes has struggled to reach 10,000 deliveries annually and the Metris volume is routinely bested by models like the smaller Ford Transit Connect or the ancient, full-size Chevrolet Express.

Those aren't even the most popular alternatives, just a couple of random examples highlighting that the model's European sizing might not have played well in the United States. The Metris tends to be a little larger than the city vans preferred by small businesses and independent tradesmen — but dwarfed by full-sized vans focused entirely on capacity. The German commercial van's interior also lacks the same level of luxury expected from other products wearing the Mercedes badge. While it's a cut above some other working vehicles designed to ferry passengers, it's universally outclassed by the features found on the minivans occupying today the market (e.g. Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna) which are also probably the closest to the Metris in overall size.

But it may be unfair to say Mercedes is pulling out wholly due to a lack of interest when Metris sales were improving ahead of the pandemic and on pace to break a record this year. In fact, the manufacturer would probably rather we ignore the glaring volume issue and focus on its decision to eliminate the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that goes into the model. On Friday, Automotive News reported that it had intercepted a dealer memo stating that the motor would be discontinued, which likewise spells doom for certain versions of the larger Mercedes Sprinter van.

"As a result, the Mercedes-Benz Metris and gasoline Sprinter models will no longer be offered in the U.S. market after Q3 2023," the brand's U.S. vice president of commercial vehicles, Nicolette Lambrechts, said in the letter.

The Sprinter van's vastly more popular diesel option should stick around while the company prepares to electrify as many vehicles as is feasible. But something tells me the Metris would have been yanked from our market even if that wasn't the case. Considering the manufacturer has only sold around 60,000 units in America since 2015, there was likely no way MB Vans would have tried to press on. Mercedes is also starting to shift back upmarket, abandoning some of its lower-margin products that sticker for less.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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2 of 6 comments
  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.
  • SCE to AUX I was going to scoff, but the idea has some merit.The hard part would be keeping the weight and cost down. Even on the EPA cycle, this thing could probably get over 210 miles with that battery.But the cost - it's too tempting to bulk up the product for profits. What might start as a $22k car quickly becomes $30k.Resource-deprived people can't buy it then, anyway, and where will Kyle get the electricity to charge it in 2029 Los Angeles?
  • SPPPP How does one under-report emissions by 115 percent? If you under-report by 100 percent, that means you said your company's products and operations cause no emissions at all, right? Were these companies claiming that their operations and products clean the air, leaving it better than when they got there?On the other hand, if someone was trying to say that the true emissions number is 115 percent higher than was reported, then the actual under-reporting value would be 53.5 percent. True emissions would be set at a nominal value of 100. The reported emissions would be 46.5. Take 115 percent of 46.5 and you get 53.5. Add 46.5 and 53.5 together and you get back to 100.A skim of the linked article indicates that the second reading is correct - meaning the EU is *actually claiming* that the worst offender (Hyundai and Kia) under-reported by 53.5 percent, and VW under-reported by 36.7 percent ((1 - (100/158))*100).I find it also funny that the EU group is basically complaining that the estimated lifetimes of Toyota vehicles are too short at 100,000km. Sure, the vehicles may be handed down from original purchasers and serve for a longer time than that. But won't that hand-me-down resale also displace an even older vehicle, which probably gets worse emissions? The concept doesn't sound that unreasonable.
  • Brendan Pataky Yeesh that's depressing. But remember, this will stop the hurricanes, or something