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I don't know if these numbers are correct. (FWIW, I live in CT I've yet to see a single Metris on the road.)


https://www.trucks.com/2016/04/20/me...-ford-transit/


"However, early Metris sales have been slow. Only 1,368 units sold during the last three months of 2015. This year hasn’t started out much better. Mercedes sold 1,377 Metris vans in first quarter, Autodata reported. Ford, by comparison, sold 10,068 Transit Connects in January. Nissan sold 5,352 NV200s. IHS Automotive forecasts annual Metris sales of between 10,000 and 13,000 — just 3 percent of U.S. commercial van sales — as demand for vans is projected to decline slightly this year and next."
 

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I live in Oregon and have seen one Metris at a dog show. I heard that they expected to sell about 8200 per year in the USA. Sounds like deep discounts for buying one to me. :)


My local van conversion business is expecting to get a lot of Metris vans in. Said that people just don't know about it yet. The Metris fills a void since Chevy stopped making the Astro Van. I think what a lot of people are waiting for is AWD.
 

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I live in northern New York and have traveled to Montreal QC twice lately. I have not seen a Metris in the wild yet.

I would love to see a diesel offered. I'd sign up that day for one. But instead of hoping for deep discounts, I wish excellent Metris sales for Mercedes. I plan on getting one and don't want it to be an orphan after a few years when Mercedes drops the line. I've owned five vans over the years (not counting my current Toyota Sienna), from the Dodge A108 and B200 Tradesman to Ford E150. The Metris is what I've always thought a van should be.
 

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I gotta new or on my street who has one. I saw another in Delaware. And I swear I saw a third on the Delaware River Turnpike Brodge, but I was doing 100+ when I passed it going the othway r way, so I could be wrong.
 

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When I ordered mine in Dec. delivery was 4 months out already and I got a production slot traded from another dealer, it would have been 6 months for a new order. It seems like they are selling all the ones they can make as it is but I can see plenty of people walking away once they are told it's going to be 4-6 months for the configuration they want. Also, from my experience no one at the Merc dealer has a clue about these things. Hard to move units when people aren't even trying to sell them and Merc hasn't been offering much for factory incentives.
 

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One Man's Story.

It appears most of what they're selling is special order, the vans on the lots seem to be sitting there. The dealers apparently think everyone wants white cargo vans with one, maybe two options, and they're sitting unsold in droves. I had to drive two states over just to see anything remotely close to what I was interested in.

So, your first dealer experience is test driving their "demo" passenger van with fishbowl viewing and lane change assist. That's pretty cool! Your second visit you ask to test drive a cargo van which naturally has no back windows, telescopic side view mirrors, Maxwell Smart vision back-up camera and of course no lane change assist. Your confidence plummets and the dealer gives you no encouragement other then "I can order what you need, trust me." In the interim you've researched all the options on the MB website that say "Inquire at dealer for more info", so you do, lol. Except it's not really funny, it's discouraging.

Back again at the dealer you ask if he can locate at another dealer this van with these options, any color but white. Eureka! There are two of these in North America! One on the other coast and one sale pending, so close, sorry, but "I can order what you need, trust me".

Okay, well I need a van, I'm ready to buy, "if you find something that you think I'd like email me the specs." One email in two weeks offering a blue cargo van with not much I wanted and several things I specifically said I didn't forced me to start searching outward in concentric circles until I found something close. I emailed, no answer, two days later I called and we started dealing.

I guess the point of all this is that the customer really is forced to do all the leg work, research and effort in order to see and test drive the vehicle they're going to own, otherwise "I can order what you need, trust me" after not seeing anything remotely close. It's a leap of faith too far for most buyers.

You have to blame Mercedes corporate for this and at first I was shocked and later just bemused that they'd given so little support to their dealers. I needed a van for work and I needed it soon. The Transit Connect is too small, the Chevy express is too big and ugly, the Metris is just right. It was just freakin’ annoying that I had to do all the legwork, all the research and then keep pushing to get the van I wanted. If I was regular Joe, curious but not needful, I wouldn’t have bothered, I’d wait till next year when the Ford Transit Custom drops on these shores.
 

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Well, lets think for a minute about why the Metris might not be selling well. I mean the dealer inventory mix is absolutely part of it, and the car dealers lack of knowledge about it is certainly another. But lets look for some other reasons.

The lack of sales of the cargo model is actually more obvious than you might think, and its reason is the new Sprinter Worker model. The Vito, thus Metris, is designed around European city confines. Its designed to be parkable in city garages, and in home garages, because in Europe people like plumbers don't generally have large driveways. Thats why those europeans buy Vitos for not much less than Sprinters. But in the US? Those space issues generally are irrelevant to most US buyers, so they'll spend the extra $4k or so for a much larger Sprinter that gets similar diesel economy to the Metris's gas economy.

And beyond that, while in Europe people do not see a Vito as a luxury vehicle, in the US any vehicle with a Mercedes badge is assumed luxurious and expensive. "You know your plumber charges too much when he shows up in a Mercedes-Benz!" Those of us who have bought one are fully aware that the Metris, over its life cycle cost, is not actually an expensive vehicle. But customers don't, and what customers think is often more important than the truth.

Finally, the dealers are a huge problem. I ordered my Metris through a dealer that I have been using to service my cars for ever and ever, which is why I gave them the sale. I liked almost everybody I dealt with except the main Sprinter sales guy who I ordered the van from. He was a jerk and an idiot. He was in charge of various things- including speccing the dealers lot.

He did not understand that the Metris was not a slightly less expensive Sprinter van aimed at people who just couldn't afford the Sprinter. Thus he specced most of his Metris lot similarly to how he specced Sprinters- stripped. An ordinary plumbers van does not need a lot of things- it doesn't need to be quiet and refined for long drives (you don't take long drives!), it doesn't need Cruise Control, or a trip computer, or comfort seats, or a lot of other things, because what a Plumbers van mostly is, is a mobile warehouse and tool shed that is driven short distances from customer to customer.

The cargo Metris is a different beast. It is smaller, more agile, and less spacious. It is going to be used... for different things. It rides better, and handles better- largely because of its relatively sophisticated semi-trailing arm rear suspension. It is a sophisticated van for people who appreciate sophistication, and are willing to pay for it- at the expense of space. Therefore, most people who order it are going to want extra options- climate control, cruise control, the trip computer, the comfort seats, heated seats, whatever. They are more likely to insist on factory installed partitions and trailer tow packs.

The dealers haven't figure out that point yet, and therefore their lots are full of the types of vans Metris customers don't want. American customers, unlike European customers, do not expect to order their vehicle and wait several months for it. Thats a sales turn off, too.

As for airport shuttle operations, those generally fall into two categories. Luxury, and non luxury. The Luxury ones, 15 years ago, ran Lincoln Town Cars, while the non-luxury ones ran either Ford Crown Victorias or Ford Econolines. The luxury ones, now, run various forms of upgraded Sprinter vans, Cadillac XTSs and Lincoln MKTs. The non luxury ones now run standard-spec Sprinters, almost exclusively.

The non-luxury ones often charge extra for an unfull van, or pick up more than one party on the way. They don't want a 7-8 passenger Metris... they want a 12 passenger Sprinter. A Metris can comfortably seat 5 paying customers, a Sprinter can comfortable seat 10. Double the capacity for an extra 30% outlay. Again, in the American road system, and in most of our cities, the smaller size of the Metris- a major selling point in Europe- is almost entirely irrelevant. Airport Shuttle Company's do not make use of the extra handling capability of the rear suspension, or the extra 18 mph of top speed. And the gas Metris gets similar fuel economy to a diesel 144" Sprinter. Which means double the fuel economy for a full run in the Sprinter.

Finally, families looking for minivans will, mostly, be better served by more mainstream products, like the Chrysler Pacifica. Its plusher, has more of the features families are looking for in minivans, and is more adaptable to how families use them (Ex. seats that fold into the floor at expense of maximum cargo space). I think most people who buy one as a substitute for a loaded Toyota Sienna will be disappointed by its hard plastics and relatively loud cabin, and lack of luxury features such as captains chairs.

It will find its niche. I personally think a luxuriously outfitted (which is not the badly executed garbage Explorer is currently marketing- I saw one!) rear end Metris with a partition would make an excellent low-key limousine, for instance. And the diesel engine that will fix the lack of fuel economy advantage vis a vis the Sprinter can't come soon enough.
 

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Actual sales:

https://www.trucks.com/2016/04/20/mercedes-metris-takes-ford-transit/
http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2015/10/usa-canada-mercedes-benz-metris-sales-figures-yearly-monthly.html

However, early Metris sales have been slow. Only 1,368 units sold during the last three months of 2015.

This year hasn’t started out much better. Mercedes sold 1,377 Metris vans in first quarter, Autodata reported. Ford, by comparison, sold 10,068 Transit Connects in January. Nissan sold 5,352 NV200s.

IHS Automotive forecasts annual Metris sales of between 10,000 and 13,000 — just 3 percent of U.S. commercial van sales — as demand for vans is projected to decline slightly this year and next.
Expectations:

http://www.autonews.com/article/20141110/RETAIL/311109955/m-b-metris-van-targets-fleet-buyers

Slotted under the Sprinter van, [the Metris] is expected to help Mercedes increase its U.S. van volume to around 50,000 units per year. The Sprinter is on track to sell close to 23,000 units in the United States this year.
TLDR; While Mercedes forecasted sales of ~25,000 units per year, actual sales this year will likely number ~6,000.
 

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But in the US? Those space issues generally are irrelevant to most US buyers, so they'll spend the extra $4k or so for a much larger Sprinter that gets similar diesel economy to the Metris's gas economy.
I think that's only true as far as Mercedes misjudging their clientele. For lots of service people who want Metris level capability fitting into parking garages and home garages is paramount. I really think the US market for the Metris in the foreseeable future will be more upscale service people. No offense to plumbers, but I do not want my plumber showing up in a shiny new Mercedes. My kitchen remodel estimator, my interior designer, my videographer, even my dog groomer, that's cool, I hired the best.

The other decent market for Metris is the avid outdoorsmen/camper/cyclist etc. But again MB seems to offer them no attention up front.

Dealer vans seem focused towards traditional tradesman and I think that's the mistake. That and almost no marketing alongside poor customer experience on the sales floor.


As for airport shuttle operations, those generally fall into two categories. Luxury, and non luxury. The Luxury ones, 15 years ago, ran Lincoln Town Cars, while the non-luxury ones ran either Ford Crown Victorias or Ford Econolines. The luxury ones, now, run various forms of upgraded Sprinter vans, Cadillac XTSs and Lincoln MKTs. The non luxury ones now run standard-spec Sprinters, almost exclusively.
Yeah, the passenger variant on the dealer lot seems like an orphan. That's really mostly a fleet vehicle and I think tends to confuse people's expectations more then sell them.
 

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Also wanted to mention the rear wheel drive. Scares the crap out of younger people who grew up with front wheel or all wheel drive. I'll bet there's tens of thousands sitting on the sideline awaiting the return of their beloved AWD Astro.
 

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Also wanted to mention the rear wheel drive. Scares the crap out of younger people who grew up with front wheel or all wheel drive. I'll bet there's tens of thousands sitting on the sideline awaiting the return of their beloved AWD Astro.
It does and it gets way worse when winter rolls around since a lot of people are horrible with even driving FWD vehicles in winter. Few go to the lengths to learn how to properly drive in those conditions and even how to prepare their vehicles and maintain it through various weather conditions.
 

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I will insist, to my dying day, that in the snow RWD is superior to FWD and almost as good as AWD. Especially so with traction control systems.

The silly idea of the superiority FWD in the snow has more to do with how crappy the cast iron big blocks with leaf springs and solid rear axles were in the snow compared to the generally superior engineering of FWD Golfs and Japanese FWD compacts.

And do you know what tow trucks call snowy days? Audi Duty.
 

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I'm sure that mine was the reason my neighbor bought one, too. Not that they asked me about it or anything. His is a cargo he uses for business- and towing a trailer that I swear is bigger than the van. Gotta ask him what hitch set up he has.

I don't think that it's a coincidence that of less than 3000 vans sold total, one of them shows up on the same street as another within a few weeks of its purchase.
 
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