One little game than can be played with new van announcements, given the number of joint ventures here in Europe, is where is it from? Any guesses on the provenance of the new third string to the Mercedes-Benz van bow – the Citan?

It doesn’t much look like it, nor is it mentioned in the pre-Hanover commercial vehicle show announcements, but this complement to the established Sprinter and Vito is in fact a rebodied Renault Kangoo, built at the Maubeuge Carrosserie Automobile plant in France, according to just-auto‘s product life database.

The Citan will makes its public debut in September and will be sold with a choice of three lengths and three model variants. The short wheelbase one is a restyled Renault Kangoo be bop and the long wheelbase variations are based on the Kangoo and the Grand Kangoo.

The basic version is the panel van which is available in three lengths: 3.94, 4.32 and 4.71m. Another model is the Citan Mixto with five seats, which is based on the extra-long version (4.71 m) and has a foldable rear bench seat and two sliding doors. The third basic model is the Citan crewbus, which is mounted on the long wheelbase (4.32 m) and can also be delivered as a five-seater with a foldable rear bench seat and sliding door (optionally available with sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle). The vehicle is available in three weight variants with GVW up to 2,200kg.

The Mercedes specification includes electronic stability program adaptive ESP as standard, which takes the vehicle load into consideration. The system combines the functions of the anti-locking braking systemand vehicle dynamic control which counters over- and understeer, and traction control and also includes acceleration skid control and drive and braking torque control.

The Citan is the first model in the Mercedes-Benz van range to feature its new family appearance.

Three high-torque, turbodiesel direct injection engines with outputs from 75hp (55kW) to 110hp (81kW) will be offered plus a supercharged petrol engine generating 115 hp (84kW). All diesels have a particulate filter as standard. Five and six-speed transmissions with a joystick gearshift transmit power to the front wheels.

The petrol-engined Citan comes with a BlueEFFICIENCY package as standard, which is optional for the diesel versions. Amongst other features this includes the ECO start/stop function, battery and generator management, plus optimised low rolling resistance tyres depending on the variant which again reduce fuel consumption.

Mercedes-Benz already claims market leadership for large and mid-sized vans. In western Europe the brand increased its market share to 18% in 2011. Division head Volker Mornhinweg said 2011 was the most successful year in the division’s history.

“We sold over 264,000 vehicles last year, or 18% more than in 2010. We even boosted profits by 85%, achieving a new record of EUR835m.

The brand is introducing the Citan to expand its line into the small vans segment, whose market volume has grown exponentially in Europe in recent years to 700,000 units. Mornhinweg expects a market share of 4 to 5%.

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