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Mercedes reveals new city van

Bold: Official sketches reveal the Mercedes-Benz Citan will sport a more aggressive front end than the Renault Kangoo on which it is based.

Citan confirmed for Australia as Mercedes-Benz joins the growing urban van market

6 Feb 2012

MERCEDES-BENZ will enter the growing city-van market segment later this year with a new model based on the Renault Kangoo to be called the Citan – a combination of the words ‘city’ and ‘titan’.

Mercedes-Benz Australia manager corporate communications Jerry Stamoulis said the Citan would come to Australia in early 2013 after making its global public debut at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover in September.

Mr Stamoulis said it would be at least July before the company could determine engine options, which have yet to be revealed in Germany, but said a diesel option was certainly under consideration for Australia.

Although Renault Australia has indicated it will likely take an all-electric version of the Kangoo and Mercedes in Germany has said a Citan EV was “being planned”, Mr Stamoulis could not say if it would be sold here as it would depend on availability and price.

Mercedes-Benz revealed the name of its version of the joint-venture urban delivery van at the company’s design centre in Sindelfingen on Friday, along with design sketches that show a heavy reworking of the Kangoo front end in particular.

The front-wheel-drive Citan will sport a trademark Mercedes grille with a prominent three-pointed star in the middle while the headlights and air dam appear to get a matching angular style that is much more aggressive than the more rounded Kangoo face.

4 center imageReports from Europe suggest the Citan will be powered by a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines developed by Renault but enhanced by Mercedes-Benz, ranging in power from 45kW to 81kW.

It will be built alongside its Renault Kangoo sibling in Maubeuge, France.

Mercedes-Benz already is the market leader in Europe for mid-size and large vans with its Vito and Sprinter models but has seen the urban delivery van segment grow to about 700,000 a year in Europe in recent years – headed by the Kangoo with 16 per cent.

However, the brand has comparatively modest ambitions for the Citan, at least initially, with Mercedes-Benz Vans chief Volker Mornhinweg anticipating a market share of between four and five per cent.

“We will take advantage of the trend toward city vans, which our brand will be able to exploit thanks to its attractively priced vehicles and the high quality of our products and services,” he said.

“Our typical Mercedes-Benz reliability, 24/7 service, and, last but not least, our great brand image are key selling points as far as our commercial customers are concerned.”

In Australia, the small van segment is dominated by the Volkswagen Caddy, which last year notched up 1842 sales, well clear of the Holden Combo (404), Suzuki APV (299) and Kangoo (294).

Mercedes sold 1060 Vito vans in Australia last year to finish fifth in the mid-size van segment, while Hyundai snatched leadership from long-time number one Toyota – Hyundai’s iLoad grabbing 6610 sales to 6034 for the Toytoa HiAce – followed by the VW Transporter (1486) and Ford Transit (1444).

Mr Mornhinweg said the Citan would be offered as a panel van, crewbus and a mixed-use vehicle, in a variety of lengths and weights.

Mercedes claims the Citan was developed and tested “in line with the company’s demanding quality standards and is correspondingly durable and robust”.

“The Citan’s operation, interior, materials, and workmanship are of the same high quality as in other Mercedes-Benz vans,” said the company after revealing it at a symposium on brand competence and city logistics on Friday.

“The new urban delivery van can therefore be justly called the ‘little brother’ of the Sprinter and Vito, to which it is in no way inferior.”

Safety features will include electronic stability control as standard.

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