The innovative vehicle will be available with special custom packs to cater for snow sports enthusiasts, surfers, cyclists and dog owners when it reaches the showrooms early next year, promised senior DaimlerChrysler vice president Dr. Rolf Bartke.
He said: 'The compact van sector offers the biggest growth potential in future. Annual sales of this kind of vehicle will reach 960,000 across Europe by 2004 - triple the registrations in 1998 - and we want to secure a good share of the business. We think this product puts up a pretty convincing argument in the sector and we're confident it will be a huge success.'
Based on the A-class supermini, the model carries either seven people or up to 3,000 litres of luggage. Access to the rear seats is via two large side sliding doors, the luggage deck expands from 300mm long to 1,810mm and the payload is 600kg.
The car will be offered in three trim levels and has a choice of three petrol engines of between 82bhp and 125bhp and diesel units developing 75bhp and 91bhp.