On 15 February 1936, Mercedes-Benz presented the 170 V (W 136 model series) at the IAMA international automobile and motorcycle show in Berlin. In addition to the passenger car variants, the 170 V was also available as a Panel Van commercial vehicle from its premiere. It can be regarded as the ideological forerunner of the small vans with a star. Its production ceased in 1942. But just six months after the end of the war, the compact delivery van was the first Mercedes-Benz model to see the light of day. In November 1945, the economic authority in the US-occupied zone issued the Stuttgart-based vehicle manufacturer with a manufacturing permit for urgently required Platform Vehicles, Panel Vans and ambulances on the basis of the 170 V. These also included the first models with a diesel engine.
Several decades later, the products from Mercedes-Benz Vans continue to impress with their quality and reliability. They offer versatile solutions for a host of different commercial and private use cases. Here is an overview of the model program as well as the siblings of the new Citan:
- Sprinter: having been in action for more than 25 years and as the pioneer of the large vans segment, the third generation launched in 2018 is more versatile than ever before. More than 1000 different versions can be configured from the possible bodies, chassis, drive concepts, tonnages and equipment details alone – be that the Panel Van, eSprinter Panel Van, Tourer, Platform Vehicle or the Chassis Cab variant. Already in the Panel Van range, this model series includes four vehicle lengths with a cargo capacity of up to 17 m3 and versions with front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. The Sprinter is in operation in over 130 countries. It isn't just produced at the German Mercedes‑Benz Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde plants, but also in Buenos Aires (Argentina), as it has been since the first generation. The US plant in Charleston was also extended to become a fully-fledged location for the current model.
- Vito: since its market launch in 1996, the Mercedes-Benz Vito which is produced in the Spanish Vitoria plant has become the perfect incarnation of a versatile mid-size van. It is available as a Panel Van, Mixto or Tourer and even in an electrically powered variant – the eVito. As a Panel Van, the long and extra-long versions of the Vito are able to fit as many as three Euro pallets in the load compartment and, thanks to the overall vehicle height of just 1910 mm, they also fit in the vast majority of multi-storey car parks and automatic car washes. The current third generation was launched in 2014. In 2020, it was facelifted to include, among other things, new engines, additional safety and assistance systems, updates to the infotainment system and visual enhancements.
- Marco Polo: for leisure time activities and holidays, the Vito serves as the basis for the Marco Polo family of vehicles, including the fully-equipped Marco Polo camper van, as well as the Marco Polo HORIZON and ACTIVITY models with their pop-up roof and seat/bunk combination.
- The V-Class: the people carrier for private and business applications has up to eight seats. Here too, versatility is key – it is available in two wheelbases, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and with a range of very high-quality appointments. The EQV is the front-wheel drive, fully electric variant of this model series.