For the first time in its history, Mercedes-Benz was able to show off a full range of light commercial vehicles as the Citan small went on sale.
Mercedes-Benz has always been thwarted in its fleet sales strategy by the fact that it only offered medium and large panel vans but with a small van now under its belt, UK van sales and marketing director Steve Bridge is confidently predicting that the German firm will sit an No2 in the sales charts by 2016.
The Citan is a heavily reworked version of the Renault Kangoo that sees improvements in style, handling and fuel economy. The Citan will cost more than the Kangoo, but Bridge said: "What we have got to do is to educate fleet operators about basing their buying decisions on the total cost of ownership against the front-end price. People have to be taught not to look at the list price but how much per day a van will cost to run."
Bridge gave an example of a Citan costing £14,000 ex-VAT against a Ford Transit Connect at £10,600 and a Volkswagen Caddy at £12,900.
Although the front-end prices are hugely different, Bridge reckons that on a normal fleet lifecycle and taking into account such items as fuel economy, reliability and residual value, the Connect will cost £6 per day to run, the Caddy £7.50 per day and the Citan £7.60 – a much closer figure.