Mercedes-Benz debuts passenger vans to U.S. hotel market

MONTVALE, NJ—Mercedes-Benz Vans USA has introduced the new Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger vans to the lodging industry in U.S. and Canadian markets as a shuttle passenger vehicle.

This mid-size van is considered larger than most small vans and smaller than the majority of large vans on the market, and was designed to thrive in large metropolitan areas with an agile yet spacious presence, according to Mercedes-Benz. “If you need a shuttle vehicle that will fit easily into a parking garage in a major city, the Metris just has the right size,” said Jan ten Haaf, product manager, Metris.

According to the automobile manufacturer, the Metris is available with a highly efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine that has 208 horsepower and 258 pound-foot of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. This powertrain application, with optional ECO start/stop, was developed to meet the needs of the mid-size commercial van segment, and also comes with a service interval of up to 15,000 miles. The Metris is a gasoline-only vehicle.

The Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger vans feature a highly efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine.

In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van carries many of the characteristics of the company’s Sprinter van. With room for up to 12 people, the Sprinter van comes with a 2.1 liter, four-cylinder, two-stage turbocharged BlueTEC diesel engine and a seven-speed, 7G-Tronic Plus transmission that delivers 161 horsepower, 265 pound-foot of torque, and best-in-class fuel efficiency, according to Mercedes-Benz.

This year marks the Metris’ first year in the U.S., but it has been a staple in Europe for two decades, according to ten Haaf. The Mercedes-Benz Metris is available as a cargo van or fleet-ready passenger van that seats up to eight people. As with the Sprinter, the Metris provides numerous safety features and rear-wheel-drive layout, as well as payload and towing stats.

Advanced safety features include eight airbags for the passenger van. All models feature standard attention assist, standard crosswind assist and standard load-adaptive Electronic Stability Program, which protects the vehicle with an antilock braking system and traction control system.

Optional safety features include active-parking assist, which helps size up parallel-parking spaces; lane-keeping assist, designed to alert the driver when the system detects that the vehicle is about to deviate from a traffic lane; PARKTRONIC, which indicates parking spaces as the vehicle passes by; collision-prevention assist, which uses radar to constantly monitor closing speed of other vehicles; blind-spot assist, a radar sensor system that detects a vehicle in the blind spot; and a rear-view camera. “These safety features are a big plus and specifically address some of the needs of the hotel industry,” said ten Haaf.

The association of the Mercedes-Benz name offers the benefit of brand recognition among hotel guests. “For the hotel industry, the name recognition of Mercedes-Benz  could build consumer loyalty,” said ten Haaf. “From what we have heard from our customers, they love the new Metris passenger vans. These vans drive as comfortably as any other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. You feel like you’re in a passenger car, and these vehicles provide maneuverability, especially in a city like New York.”

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris is all-new to the U.S. but has a long, strong track record in global markets, according to the company. Many of the interior features are taken from other vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, such as premium touches and overall fit-and-finish. Large cup holders have also been added to the center console on the dashboard to meet North American customer needs of local driving.

The Metris passenger van has three rows of seats, which can be configured for seven or eight passengers. The former setup has two seats in the second row and three in back, with the extra space in the second row near the door for easier entry and exit. In eight-passenger models, the rear rows each accommodate three passengers.

The exterior of the passenger models offer an additional sliding side door on the driver’s side. Furthermore, rear doors are designed to swing 180 degrees, with an upward-lifting tailgate optional, and fixed rear windows.

“The exterior and interior of the Metris passenger vans provide a nice luxury appearance,” said ten Haaf. “The seats have a good size. Everyone can sit comfortably. We are positioning this vehicle as a hotel shuttle. It’s not a minivan and doesn’t compete in that segment.”

The Metris passenger van also offers enhanced features such as an air-conditioning package and a temperature-management system. “It gives you everything you would wish in such a vehicle for a passenger pick-up, especially those who are being picked up from an airport,” said ten Haaf.

Since introducing these vehicles earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz  has sold the Metris passenger vans to a few hotels in the U.S. The company would not disclose the names of the hotels. So far, the company has received positive feedback from the lodging properties. “The passengers love it,” said ten Haaf, “and the drivers appreciate the maneuverability. It gives passengers a comfortable ride.” HB

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