Mercedes-Benz Killing Metris In America And Dealers Are Thrilled

Industry News / 1 Comment

The unloved commercial van is facing the axe in the United States.

With a new business strategy in play, Mercedes-Benz is looking to make big changes to its lineup. But it seems the killing spree isn't over yet, with the Metris van being the latest victim of the company's culling.

This is according to Automotive News, which uncovered the information through a leaked dealer memo. "The Mercedes-Benz Metris and gasoline Sprinter models will no longer be offered in the US market after Q3 2023," reads the communique.

Unfortunately for Mercedes, the Metris isn't the sales success the company had hoped for. As per the report, the automaker managed to shift a mere 60,000 examples since it was introduced in 2015. Interestingly, the majority of Metris vans were supplied to the US government.

2021-2022 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van Side View Mercedes-Benz

A source told the publication that once the government contract was complete, the Metris is no more. "We are going to honor our contract with the US Postal Service...once we do that, we're bailing out." Known as the Vito in other markets, the commercial offering enjoys relative success elsewhere. But, as AutoPacific's Ed Kim notes, the Mercedes is perhaps too niche for American tastes.

"The Metris occupies this unique space in the middle...[it] is in a segment of one." Here, Kim is referring to the size and positioning of the Mercedes. It's not quite as practical as larger alternatives and nor is it as affordable as smaller options. But for dealers, the death of the van comes as great news.

An unnamed salesperson revealed that the Metris wasn't worthy of wearing the Mercedes-Benz badge. "There's nothing luxury about it. It drives louder than a Toyota." What's more, the Metris doesn't provide dealerships with the juicy profit margins they crave. "We would give all the dealer performance bonuses, all the profit to the customer, to get the vans off the lot."

For those who truly desire a commercial vehicle adorned with the three-pointed star, the diesel Sprinter will remain. Interestingly, the larger Sprinter currently accounts for 75% of Mercedes' total commercial sales in the United States. In fact, only the Germans purchase more Sprinter vans than we do.

Much like Ford is doing with the E-Transit, Mercedes has plans to offer an electric Sprinter. Already for sale in Europe, the battery-powered commercial vehicle is expected to make a splash in late 2023. With production expected to kick off at the company's South Carolina plant, the electric Sprinter will, hopefully, be a well-price alternative to the Ford.

But it's not just vans and compact Benzes that are falling prey to this new business plan. The C-Class and E-Class coupes will disappear and return as one model, called the CLE. Like the defunct CLK, this one model is expected to cater to both crowds, reducing development costs and increasing the ever-important bottom line.

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2021-2022 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van Side View
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