Just like in other segments in the auto industry, one way of creating a new model is to fit a vehicle between two segments that are already established. That's exactly what Mercedes is doing with the Metris.
The Mercedes-Benz Metris is bigger than the "vanlets" put out by its rivals, like the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City. Yet the Metris is still smaller than its big brother, the Sprinter. To be exact, the the Metris has an overall length of 202 inches, a cargo volume of 186 feet and a towing capacity a little below 5,000 pounds.
Some were a bit skeptical of the sales prospects of the Metris. It is tall and narrow, but comes at a premium price -- not exactly the most alluring sales proposition. The Metris also has low running costs and superior manoeuvrability, and those traits seem to be enough to attract a good amount of customers judging from the model's success in Europe. These customers are looking for a utilitarian van, but they don't need the capability of the Sprinter.
Indeed, Mercedes-Benz isn't sailing into completely uncharted waters with the Metris. This medium size commercial van niche was once the home of the Chevrolet Astro and the GMC Safari. Those haven't been in production for over a decade, but perhaps they will make a comeback if those brands see that the Metris is doing well.
Do you find that you fall into this niche segment? You want something that is larger than the "vanlets", but you don't need something as big as the Sprinter?