CHICAGO — Mercedes-Benz Vans is branching out beyond its traditional work and passenger vans and turning to the great outdoors and tailgating.
The Weekender, a Metris-based pop-up camper van, is the fruit of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and two upfitters: Driverge Vehicle Innovations and Peace Vans.
Standard features include a pop-up roof with a sleeping area and mattress for two, a rear bench seat that can become another bed for two and swiveling front seats. Optional features include an awning, a pullout rear kitchen and an attachable tent for the liftgate.
Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this month, the Weekender marks the first time Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer a pop-up camper in its U.S. showrooms.
"This is something our customers have been asking for because they've seen it in other markets," said Rich Webber, general manager of marketing and product management at Mercedes-Benz Vans, referring to pop-ups offered in Europe.
The Weekender will arrive this summer and will be sold only through certified Mercedes-Benz Vans dealerships, of which there are about 250 in the United States. Pricing was not announced, but it will likely be in the $70,000 range, a company spokeswoman said.
Webber said he sees the versatile van being an option for customers who go camping or who take road trips a handful of times a year, snowbird retirees or even people attending a football tailgate event.
"It's a Mercedes-Benz," Webber said. "In the U.S., it's a luxury mindset.
"It gives us another piece that's not the work van. It's a different setting for us."