Mercedes-Benz is using the giant Specialty Equipment Market Association show this week in Las Vegas to preview a midsize van scheduled to arrive in North America in about a year.
Mercedes parent Daimler AG has built the van -- known as the Vito in markets outside North America -- since 2003 in Vitoria, Spain.
The United States and Canada will get a long-wheelbase version of the van, which will be called the Metris.
As with the larger Sprinter van, the Metris will be made in Europe and shipped to the Daimler Vans plant in Ladson, S.C., for final assembly.
Cargo and passenger versions will be available.
Cargo versions will come from Vitoria, with the drivetrain, fuel tank and battery removed to avoid a 25 percent tariff known as the “chicken tax.” Those components will be reinstalled at the Ladson plant. It’s the same process cargo versions of the Sprinter undergo. Passenger vans are not subject to the chicken tax.
Mercedes will show four concept versions of the Metris at SEMA.
1. A mobile disc jockey booth with a roof that tilts open.
2. A luxury shuttle packed with high-end audio and video equipment.
3. A mobile command center that could be used by fire departments or government agencies as a rolling communications center.
4. A golf-themed van with a mobile golf simulator.
At 202 inches, the Metris will be larger than small cargo vans such as Ford’s Transit Connect, Nissan’s NV200, and the upcoming Chevrolet City Express and Ram ProMaster City, which debut next year.
Mercedes spokesman Christian Bokich said the Metris will be available only as a Mercedes-Benz. No Freightliner version will be offered, he said.
Daimler offers Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner versions of the Sprinter. The only difference is cosmetic.
Mercedes has not announced powertrains or prices for the Metris.