MERCEDES-BENZ is renowned for its luxury motors, so it comes as a surprised that the quality German car maker is considering branching out into the camper van sector.
Concept models, based on the Mercedes X-Class pick-up, have been given an airing at this month's Caravan Motor Touristik show in Stuttgart.
There appears to be increasing demand for this type of vehicle, especially in Germany, and between January and October2017 almost 38,000new vehicles were registered across all classes of camper vans, according to the German Caravanning Industry Association. That is some 5,000more than in the same period of the previous year.
Mercedes says the newX-Class fits perfectly into this usage profile, setting new standards. It combines the typical characteristics of a pickup with the classic strengths of a Mercedes.
As a pick-up it is robust, strong and with good off-road capability. At the same time its comfort, safety features and networking capability are typical of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
Despite its compact size the camper van concepts the demountable cabin from bodybuilder Tischer offers a comfortable sleeping system in an alcove 150cm wide, headroom of almost twometres, a kitchen with a three-burnergas stove and threecosy seats.
The latter can be converted into a secondbed in just a few steps. With its large, fold-away wash basin and swivelling toilet unit, the integrated bathroom manages to offer enough space to take a shower.
Another concept on show has been developed by VanEssaMobil Camping: a heavy-duty pull-out module weighing around 250kg with a fully equipped kitchen - including such features as a cool box, cooking and washing-up facilities as well as space for crockery and supplies.
Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-BenzVans, said: "It is important to us that our vehicles appeal to camper van bodybuilders as well, of course, to end customers.
"The X-Class fits seamlessly into our established product range. We are proud to introduce first camper van solution approaches together with Tischer and VanEssa at the CMT, just twomonths after the vehicle's launch."