In my mind, its been that way since 2003 when VW stopped selling Eurovan in the US. As a happy 1990 VW Vanagon owner with camper conversion until 2002, I'm just glad to see that there is now at least some mid size van for sale in the US. Our lifestyle is back to where we want to have that kind of van again.
VW T5 California or MB Vito camper would be my ideal, but its not coming because of as you say, they want to protect the SUV market. Personally though, I think there is a market for this. The Sprinter/Roadtrek/Sportmobiles are just too expensive, I think the MB Metris is a more affordable sweet spot. I got my Metris cargo van for 31K with almost all options and if I spend another 30-35K for the conversion, still well under 6 figures that the Sprinters et all want.
There are 3 Reimo distributors starting up in North America. I'm not a handy guy, so I'm looking forward to getting started on converting my 2016 Metris Cargo van next year thru one of them. Looking to hear from anyone who is farther along in doing a full on camper conversion. Don't think I could handle buying parts, dealing with the import issues and installation myself.
I wouldn't call it being a victim, more of an economic hostage, trying to build out what they won't sell directly.