Mercedes-Benz Citan urban van: first look

The Mercedes-Benz Citan will join the brand's Australian line-up next year following its official unveiling at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover in September.
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The Citan (a portmanteau of 'city' and 'titan') will be a new series of urban commercial vehicles primarily designed to grab a share of Europe’s expanding small van segment, slotting in below the larger Vito, Vario and Sprinter models.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy says the Citan is set to go on sale locally around the middle of 2013, taking on vehicles like the Volkswagen Caddy, Renault Kangoo and Citroen Berlingo.

McCarthy said a panel van variant was locked in for our market, and confirmed the local brand was also considering a passenger version. He suggested the local range could include two different wheelbase lengths as well as two vehicle heights, although the specifications are still some way off being finalised.

Mercedes describes the Citan as a “durable and robust” van designed to suit the needs of service, sales and trade workers, combining large interior dimensions with a compact exterior.

A range of petrol and diesel engines will be offered, and an electric version is also planned. Every Citan will come equipped with electronic stability control as standard.

The Citan’s styling draws on the current design language of Mercedes’ passenger car range, with large headlights, an upright grille, and a clean interior with SLS-style, jet engine-inspired air vents. McCarthy confirmed the production model’s styling remains faithful to these sketches.

Mercedes-Benz wants the Citan to take a four to five per cent share of the small van market in Europe, which last year accounted for around 700,000 vehicles.

McCarthy said it was difficult to project Australian sales at this stage, but said he expected it to be competitive in the market.

“If you look at the other vehicles in that segment, there’s no reason why it couldn’t do similar numbers.”

The Volkswagen Caddy accounted for 55 per cent of Australia’s sub-2.5-tonne van segment in 2011, with 1842 units sold.