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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - Vaneo - mini people-mover

Mercedes unveils seven-seat hauler

Let's move people: The Vaneo will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Mercedes unveils a roomy mover and it just might come to Australia

12 Mar 2001

MERCEDES-BENZ has provided the first official pictures of its Vaneo compact people-mover, due to make its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The newcomer is the marque's first offering in the mini-MPV segment and is claimed to offer superior levels of space and practicality within compact exterior dimensions.

Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman Toni Andreevski said a decision on whether the vehicle will be offered here would be made by the end of the year.

"The Vaneo doesn't go on sale in Europe until the end of the year, so we won't get it until mid-2002 at the earliest," he said.

There is obviously no word on pricing but Mr Andreevski said the Vaneo would be pitched as a "premium people-mover" in Europe, which suggests a starting price around $50,000 - in line with the Honda Odyssey V6L - if it gets the green light for Australia.

Vaneo will be offered in Europe with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and in three trim levels - Trend, Family and Ambiente.

Mercedes-Benz says market research and clinics carried out by the company revealed that future mini-MPV buyers were looking for a multi-functional vehicle that falls outside traditional categories.

Based on this research, the German car-maker has come up with a vehicle that measures just 4.2 metres long, yet has room for five adults and two children.

The interior can also be configured to provide load space of up to 3000 litres - which the company claims is unsurpassed in this segment.

Access to the rear seats is via two wide-opening sliding doors while an optionally available, pull-out load compartment floor makes loading even easier.

The Vaneo comes equipped with a raft of standard safety features including ESP, Brake Assist and the innovative sandwich-design body from the A-class.

Mercedes-Benz is confident the Vaneo will win over a new set of customers to the brand.

"The market research carried out by DaimlerChrysler shows that for use with a family, and for work and leisure pursuits, well-planned, multi-functional solutions are required," says the company's press release.

The Vaneo will be built at the Ludwigsfelde plant south of Berlin and the company aims to sell 50,000 units annually.

Mercedes-Benz says the European mini-MPV market is expected to increase by about 46 per cent between 1999 and 2003, from 486,000 units to 710,000 units.

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