Mercedes-Benz Group will continue to build vans as a “hedge” against volatility in the passenger car market, CEO Ola Kallenius said, even as the Mercedes brand moves further upmarket and targets higher pricing.
Mercedes sold about 415,000 vans worldwide last year, with a return on sales of 11.2 percent. For the first three months of 2023, that figure jumped to 15.6 percent on sales of about 99,000 units, which the automaker said was a record quarter.
However, van sales have not yet returned to the pre-pandemic high of 438,000, although margins have jumped about nine percentage points.
Kallenius and Mercedes’ van chief Mathias Geisen on Tuesday presented the automaker’s updated van strategy through 2030, which will focus on more-profitable segments such as campers and a new full-electric platform for medium and large vans called VAN.EA.
Mercedes sells three van sizes: The T-Class and Citan compact, built by Renault; the V-Class and Vito midsize, with a new generation due in several months; and the Sprinter large vans.