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Discussion Starter #1
Watch this video. Mercedes-Benz Vans USA specifically imported a Vito Marco Polo to show off to the US journalists in Colorado and gather their feedback on a version for the US.

The fact that Mercedes is considering a US version is highly encouraging to those of us who are interested in a camping vehicle. Check out how cool it is! :grin:

 

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Don't hold your breath. When I asked Mercedes about the Marco Polo a couple months ago, the response I got was that they currently have no plans to import it. VW sells a camper (ironically called the California) in Europe and have for many years but don't import a version to the US. I wonder if there are safety or liability concerns? So my plan is to buy a Metris and convert it into a camper as the Marco Polo clearly proves that it is the right size. Mine will be more bare bones than the Marco Polo, but that will be fine with me.
 

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Read some of the comments on news stories about the Metris and the reason MB doesn't import rapidly is obvious. I have owned Mercedes cars for years, some of them very Spartan. I know what first and foremost Mercedes means- quality, durability, safety, and engineering excellence.

My 240Ds and to some extent my other E-classes were basically taxi spec. The idea of a van from the same manufacturer is not incongruous to me. Mercedes vans are not luxury products- In fact a diesel Ford Transit, by some idiot mistake on Fords part, is slightly more expensive than a comparably sized Sprinter.

You generally pay a bit more for a Mercedes, sure, as you do in every segment they compete in.

Mercedes is having a hard time convincing average buyers that their cars are not much more than competitors, and worth the premium. The publics perception, because they don't know MSRPs is that a FedEx Sprinter is a $80k truck, not the ~$40k or so Fedex actually pays for them.

They have to move carefully to both properly build their commercial identity, and not hurt their luxury exclusivity perception for their car brand.
 

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Indeed.

It helps that they've built up this premium, high quality reputation, already embedding that image into the mind of a lot of folks, it's the default understanding.
 

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Thanks for sharing the video. Hope MB USA will reconsider and release the Metris Marco Polo for Sale.
Was driving a VW T5 California in Europe and since then I try to find something similar here but without success.
Just need the pop up roof, swivel seats and folding bench in the 3rd row which transforms into a bed. Would be perfect for a weekend at the beach.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for sharing the video. Hope MB USA will reconsider and release the Metris Marco Polo for Sale.
Was driving a VW T5 California in Europe and since then I try to find something similar here but without success.
Just need the pop up roof, swivel seats and folding bench in the 3rd row which transforms into a bed. Would be perfect for a weekend at the beach.

I think MB's display of the vehicle to journalists indicates MBUSA is studying whether the Marco Polo has a viable business case in North America.


Notice they showed a Marco Polo to journalists, and not a V-Class. This indicates we're probably more likely to see a Metris Marco Polo than a U.S.-spec V-Class.
 

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I think MB's display of the vehicle to journalists indicates MBUSA is studying whether the Marco Polo has a viable business case in North America.


Notice they showed a Marco Polo to journalists, and not a V-Class. This indicates we're probably more likely to see a Metris Marco Polo than a U.S.-spec V-Class.
I think you might be looking into it too much. When have journalists even been an acurate measure of what the consuming public want, ESPECIALLY auto journos.

The MP was probably closest in touch points and kit to the US spec van...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think you might be looking into it too much. When have journalists even been an acurate measure of what the consuming public want, ESPECIALLY auto journos.

The MP was probably closest in touch points and kit to the US spec van...

I don't know, I have to think the decision to show the MP and not the V-Class had to have some product planning basis...
 

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I don't know, I have to think the decision to show the MP and not the V-Class had to have some product planning basis...
but why would they confer with journalists and not the actual market? We all know if it was up to journalists we would all be driving brown diesel wagons, ford broncos and ferraris...

The V class is not an accurate representation of what NA would be expecting, granted the MP isn't either...

Another potential angle is the MP is an appropriate representation of what Mercedes is capable of in terms of upfitting... I personally don't see MB selling the MP, but I can see them selling certain pieces for you kit your own. My basis is that no one else in segment offers similar, I came to the conslusion that if there was money to be made, logically someone would of made it already in the NA market...
 

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ANNDDDDD, Mercedes TV goes camping with the Marco Polo. I still don't think its coming to the US, but its certainly a fine piece of machinery!!

 

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Discussion Starter #12
My basis is that no one else in segment offers similar, I came to the conslusion that if there was money to be made, logically someone would of made it already in the NA market...

I have to reject this argument on the basis that automotive executives are often wrong.


Many products, predicted to be a success in the marketplace, have failed. And conversely, many hesitant launches have turned out to be big successes. The Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V spring to mind.


There may be a market for a camper van, like the Marco Polo, but no one will know until a major OEM offers one.
 

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I remember the Juke, many didn't see hope in that, neither did I but it pulled through! Funny how that works and it worked out so well that some car makers model their cars off it.
 

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According to this review
http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/first-drives/features/a25869/first-drive-2016-mercedes-benz-metris/
". . . the Metris should also attract more than a few families who still rue the day Volkwagen ceased EuroVan sales in the U.S. (despite Mercedes firmly insisting it won't market the Metris directly to the general public). And for lovers of the great outdoors (and/or the likewise departed EuroVan Westfalia), Mercedes showed us a couple of Euro-market pop-top campers, which hinted that American upfitters may be able to sell garageable RVs once again."

Here,
http://www.camperize.com/poptops.html,
just FYI is a list of some of the companies that put poptops on vans and turns them into camper vans.
 

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I have to reject this argument on the basis that automotive executives are often wrong.


Many products, predicted to be a success in the marketplace, have failed. And conversely, many hesitant launches have turned out to be big successes. The Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V spring to mind.


There may be a market for a camper van, like the Marco Polo, but no one will know until a major OEM offers one.
so you take journalist over automotive executive in terms of market knowledge... ok...

please don't pretend the HRV was a random success, honda watched the market develop and entered with a competitive product...
 

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so you take journalist over automotive executive in terms of market knowledge... ok...

please don't pretend the HRV was a random success, honda watched the market develop and entered with a competitive product...
I won't pretend that I know how accidental various successes are. But I know that if I was sitting down to design a car, which I did, it would be remarkably like a VPG MV-1, except closer to its orignal predecessor, the Standard Taxi. It would be built with a transversely mounted four cylinder diesel with the entire drivetrain mounted on an easily unbolt able subframe so that it could be swapped out for maintainence.

All body panels simple stampings, all framing using interchangeable, cut to fit rails. All flat glass. Nutty, right? I was thinking fleet. Obviously.

But see how well the MV-1, which is in some ways the child of that idea, has performed in the marketplace.

Nobody fully understands what the public wants. But they don't want sensible- you can't explain the pickup if they did.
 

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MV-1 might be bound to do even better, I heard there could be a requirement for cities to have more accessible Taxi's in their fleet.
 
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