Mercedes-Benz globally has three core businesses: trucks/buses, vans and cars.
The US market has been almost exclusively focused on just one of these divisions, with the launch of the M-B Sprinter lineup 12 years ago one of the first times Americans have seen the three-pointed star on a truck of any kind.
Everywhere else in the world, Mercedes logos bigger than your head are everywhere in cities, construction sites, farm tracts and anywhere in between.
Part of the Mercedes-Benz USA focus on cars is now eroding — to the great benefit of shoppers able to buy some of the best trucks, buses and vans in the world.
What started with Sprinter and Freightliner vans is now a thriving part of the Merc business in the US. Daimler trucks actually sold 500,000 units in the North American heavy-truck segments in 2014 with Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses.
But still, the Mercedes brand is relatively sheltered from downmarket taint via unique showrooms for the MB Vans.
This presents a big opportunity for Mercedes. Leverage its brand values of tech and sophistication via an all-new sales channel exclusively for vans. Sprinter is growing well with a new 4×4 option for 2015 — but where is the kid brother?
A new mid-size Mercedes-Benz van is coming to the US market in September of 2015 as a 2016 model-year — watch this space for the launch details of the $28k Metris.
While the Marco Polo camper vans are not headed our way, they show the overall depth of the MB mid-size van offering.
2015 Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo