Mercedes-Benz hopes to appeal to families with the T-Class compact passenger van, including a battery-electric version. The van is being developed with the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will be launched in the first half of 2022.
The T-Class will be based on the Citan light-commercial van, which Renault builds alongside its Kangoo van in Maubeuge, France.
The current Kangoo/Citan has been on the market since 2012, and a new Kangoo is expected to be revealed in the coming months, with commercial sales starting early next year followed shortly by passenger versions.
The Kangoo and Citan will be built on the Renault-Nissan CMF C/D architecture, which is used on compact vehicles including the Renault Megane.
Renault showed a concept version of the new Kangoo in 2019, including a battery-electric option and possibly a plug-in hybrid option. Mercedes confirmed that the T-Class will have an electric version.
Mercedes has given passenger variants of light-commercial vehicles "class" designations in recent years. The V-Class is a version of the midsize Vito van, and the short-lived X Class was a Mercedes version of the Nissan Navara pickup.
Mercedes' parent company, Daimler, holds a 3.1 percent stake in the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance, and the companies have developed joint model and powertrain projects, although the pace of collaboration has slowed in recent years.
Mercedes said in a news release that the T-Class will appeal to families and "active leisure enthusiasts," but it also expects customers from shuttle and vehicle-sharing services. "While the Mercedes-Benz Citan is a no-compromise vehicle tailored to the requirements of commercial customers, the Mercedes-Benz T-Class is primarily focused towards private customers," the automaker said in release.
Mercedes said the T-Class "will be clearly discernible at first glance as a member of the Mercedes-Benz family and will feature unmistakably typical characteristics of the brand." The automaker did not release other details except to note that it will have sliding doors on both the left and right passenger sides. A profile image showed similar lines to that of the Kangoo concept from 2019.
JATO Dynamics analyst Felipe Munoz said that Mercedes was able to successfully add a "premium touch" to the Vito in creating the V-Class, but that the same formula did not work with the X-Class. "Mercedes must clearly differentiate the T-Class from the Kangoo if it does not want to repeat the story of the X-Class/Navara," he said.