Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit will launch a small van that uses the Renault Kangoo's platform starting in the autumn. The new Mercedes Citan will be produced at Renault's factory in Maubeuge, northern France, where the French automaker makes three derivatives of its car-derived van (the Kangoo, Kangoo Express and Kangoo Be Bop).
With 35,720 sales, the Kangoo ranked third in European car-derived van sales last year behind the Volkswagen Caddy and Citroen Berlingo, according to figures from JATO Dynamics.
Renault and alliance partner Nissan formed a partnership with Daimler in 2010 to cooperate on the development of commercial vehicles, small cars and future powertrains.
The Citan, which Mercedes says combines the words city and titan, will be the smallest offering in the German automaker's van lineup, which includes the Vito, Sprinter and Vario.
Mercedes is joining a segment dominated by European volume brands because it sees untapped growth potential. According to the release, sales in the segment have grown to about 700,000 units a year in Europe from next to nothing in the mid-1990s.
"We will take advantage of the trend toward city vans, which our brand will be able to exploit thanks to its attractively priced vehicles and the high quality of our products and services," Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in a release.
The Citan will have a starting price "well under" 20,000 euros, according to a report last month by bi-monthly German publication AutoStrassenverkehr. When asked about the report, a Daimler spokeswoman said it was too early to reveal the Citan's starting price.
The van will be unveiled at IAA commercial vehicle show in Hanover in September. Mercedes will offer gasoline, diesel and electric versions of the Citan, the company said.