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Old 08-28-2017, 11:56 PM   #1
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Default Mercedes Metris - Marco Polo Conversion

New to forum and potential Metris buyer. Interested in using Metris as Marco Polo (w/ or w/o the pop-up top). My understanding is that V-class Marco Polo will not be available in USA. The quality I see on U.S. based camper conversion companies (GTRV or Sportsmobile) is not that great. Do you know if it is possible to purchase/order the interior units of the Marco Polo?
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Old 08-29-2017, 02:45 AM   #2
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I doubt it. That said, if you can find a source, most of the US converters will sell you a Metris with just the pop-top and you can do it yourself.

There are 5 or 6 or 7 companies doing Metris conversions. All of them are basically the same... and the same as the "marco polo."

The reality is that there isn't much more that can be done with that small amount of space.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:07 AM   #3
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Getting a European fit and finish in US is difficult. Perhaps Hymer will decide to bring their V-class Metris in NA here. https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mer...dan-with-star/ Hymer adds modular flexibility to Mercedes V-Class camper van

But, I wouldn’t count to see it soon. B-class, or should I call the Metris class a B minus – class, market is small and even Hymer/Roadtrek Camping World disastrous temporary boost will continue to struggle to increase this market.

In 1977 and 1985 I purchased Westfalias directly from VW dealers, if Mercedes would decide to sell Marco Polo directly from their dealerships this sale process could take away some portion from the ubiquitous SUVs market, but, doubtful it will happen.

It is very upsetting to walk into a Mercedes dealership in EU and have opportunity to drive away in Marco Polo for $55-60K. https://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/cont...arco-polo.html
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Old 08-29-2017, 03:16 PM   #4
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The website brochure suggests the price is 50-60K pounds sterling... which is $65-78K. And it looks like there are lots of options to make it even more. Looks more luxurious that the current US options.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:22 PM   #5
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Prices are “on the road prices” which includes 20% VAT. Difficult to judge what actual prices would be in US or Canada.

Just another possible scenario - V class is £47K and Marco Polo is £55K so the difference about 20%. V class in NA is Metris for about $35K + 20% = about $42.

Back in 1977 and 1985 when I purchased Westfalias from VW dealers the price penalties for the camping versions were similar, at least I don’t remember to be much more expensive than passenger versions.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkin View Post
I doubt it. That said, if you can find a source, most of the US converters will sell you a Metris with just the pop-top and you can do it yourself.

There are 5 or 6 or 7 companies doing Metris conversions. All of them are basically the same... and the same as the "marco polo."

The reality is that there isn't much more that can be done with that small amount of space.
I doubt these converters can deliver the fit/finish/design you get with the Marco Polo. Yes, functionally the same, but not nearly as slick.

I've very curious to see what Advanced RV comes up with on their Metris project. They may be the best bet to get that high level finish one would expect with the MP.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:15 PM   #7
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I would vote for ARV as well except; will they be able to invest in tooling to get some of this well engineered fit and finish qualities on par with Marco Polo. Volume is required to justify proper tooling, ARV is one at the time shop, good shop but small.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:18 PM   #8
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I would vote for ARV as well except; will they be able to invest in tooling to get some of this well engineered fit and finish qualities on par with Marco Polo. Volume is required to justify proper tooling, ARV is one at the time shop, good shop but small.
There in lies the beauty of the way ARV does things - they have a CNC machine to cut all their parts, so there isn't tooling as you'd typically require. All their cabinets are done this way if I understand correctly.

Not sure about doing plastic molded panels for the interior - you may have a point there. But they do make their own tanks, so maybe they can do those too.

I'm sure it's not far off where everyone will have large 3D printers and can make anything they can dream up!
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:45 PM   #9
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Very cute little tiny RV.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:40 PM   #10
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There in lies the beauty of the way ARV does things - they have a CNC machine to cut all their parts, so there isn't tooling as you'd typically require. All their cabinets are done this way if I understand correctly.
Not sure about doing plastic molded panels for the interior - you may have a point there. But they do make their own tanks, so maybe they can do those too.
I'm sure it's not far off where everyone will have large 3D printers and can make anything they can dream up!
In my DIY conversion I extensively used CNC, great for productivity of just flat panels just as water or laser cutting. For 3D production applications plastic molding is a winner, but tooling is expensive.

We used 3D printing technology back in the early nineties for very complex prototypes. Great technology for small parts, for prototypes or small runs. Personally, I don’t believe it will replace quality plastic molding, just too many limits in materials, sizes and long production cycles per part. It costs Ford $3K for 3D printed intake manifold and $500 for a molded one, so for prototype 3D is an absolute winner but for the production volume it is not. With voxels of 50 microns, such as HP Jet Fusion, it takes a long time to build a part, minutes or hours, versus seconds for a mold. There are products which will require 3D printing like complex shapes in medical field or parts impossible to make using conventional technologies, but this is not a camper.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:38 PM   #11
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ARV has begun to play with 3-D printing. In one of their videos, they specifically mentioned doing a combination side-view camera mount and patio light that way. At their tiny volumes, I'm sure that this will be a very practical approach.

Don't underestimate the rate of progress in this area. I recently attended an additive manufacturing trade show. Some of what is being done is mind-boggling. There are now job-shops that own huge, expensive, fast machines that can crank out low- to medium-volume production parts (and also molds) in both plastic and metal at increasingly competitive prices.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
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ARV has begun to play with 3-D printing. In one of their videos, they specifically mentioned doing a combination side-view camera mount and patio light that way. At their tiny volumes, I'm sure that this will be a very practical approach.

Don't underestimate the rate of progress in this area. I recently attended an additive manufacturing trade show. Some of what is being done is mind-boggling. There are now job-shops that own huge, expensive, fast machines that can crank out low- to medium-volume production parts (and also molds) in both plastic and metal at increasingly competitive prices.
Yes, I suppose one could subcontract out a batch order of parts without having to invest in the setup yourself. I would imagine that could be a good business to be in - making custom parts for various houses. Tech is moving faster than ever!
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:29 AM   #13
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Rumor is Recon Campers is going to be doing a proper conversion of the Metris.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:41 AM   #14
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There are no doubts in my mind that both additive as well as enhanced subtractive manufacturing processes will continue to develop, penetrating different markets at different rates. The crossover points of size, resolution, material, volumes, surface finish, cost, designs impossible for injection molding will govern these penetration rates.

Back in 2006/7 (I retired in 07) I remember cooling down our excited marketing folks claiming that 3D Ink Jet printing will shake automotive parts distribution by being able to 3D print brake rotors on demand instead maintain inventories, well this went nowhere.

Coming from the world familiar to me of shooting pico-liters drops at 10m/s I was dwarfed by seeing 3D printed concrete mix houses at 10 houses/day in China, so different markets different needs for resolution or size or material or 3D printing technology.

https://www.creativemechanisms.com/b...-manufacturing

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Old 09-01-2017, 04:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkin View Post
I doubt it. That said, if you can find a source, most of the US converters will sell you a Metris with just the pop-top and you can do it yourself.

There are 5 or 6 or 7 companies doing Metris conversions. All of them are basically the same... and the same as the "marco polo."
From what I can tell the camper van conversion companies are good at functionality but lack at finish and luxury. Just see what they have on their website (for $$$) to what you see on MB EU models and you'll see the difference. Hence, my search.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
Getting a European fit and finish in US is difficult. Perhaps Hymer will decide to bring their V-class Metris in NA here. https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mer...dan-with-star/ Hymer adds modular flexibility to Mercedes V-Class camper van

But, I wouldn’t count to see it soon. B-class, or should I call the Metris class a B minus – class, market is small and even Hymer/Roadtrek Camping World disastrous temporary boost will continue to struggle to increase this market.

In 1977 and 1985 I purchased Westfalias directly from VW dealers, if Mercedes would decide to sell Marco Polo directly from their dealerships this sale process could take away some portion from the ubiquitous SUVs market, but, doubtful it will happen.

It is very upsetting to walk into a Mercedes dealership in EU and have opportunity to drive away in Marco Polo for $55-60K. https://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/cont...arco-polo.html
It does not look like MB is going to bring Marco Polo or any other camper van to NA. There is a "chicken tax" that levies a 25% tariff on imported light trucks. The only way to get around it if MB makes the car overseas, transport it in pieces, and reassemble it here. It seems to have made sense for the sprinter market but MB's new SC U.S. plant won't be able to carry an additional load for another 3-4 years, even if there was a market for the camper van (and according an MB executive, there isn't).
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kllcbosmetris View Post
It does not look like MB is going to bring Marco Polo or any other camper van to NA. There is a "chicken tax" that levies a 25% tariff on imported light trucks. The only way to get around it if MB makes the car overseas, transport it in pieces, and reassemble it here. It seems to have made sense for the sprinter market but MB's new SC U.S. plant won't be able to carry an additional load for another 3-4 years, even if there was a market for the camper van (and according an MB executive, there isn't).
I purchased a Passenger Sprinter 2013 assembled in Germany and delivered as is. If Marco Polo would be in the same product group it would bypass Chicken Tax just like my van.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:01 PM   #18
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From what I can tell the camper van conversion companies are good at functionality but lack at finish and luxury. Just see what they have on their website (for $$$) to what you see on MB EU models and you'll see the difference. Hence, my search.
Yes, I had visited their website and it is obviously more luxurious that currently available US sources.

BUT...

We have yet to see Advanced RV's entry into this market and based on their other conversions, you would be able to get all the luxury you can imagine... and/or... afford.
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:47 PM   #19
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I have reached the conclusion AND ACCEPTED there is not a large viable market for Class B's in North America (major manufacturers) seeking to replicate what is on offer in Europe in NA.

Advanced RV is a gem and the work they do is incredible. They offer a stellar product and I hope the market grows for what they offer.

It is still unclear to me whether it is customer inertia or unwillingness of NA manufacturers invest in new manufacturing to produce the quality seen in the Mercedes Marco Polo.

The standout product (concept) from the 2017 Dusseldorf Caravan exposition was the Class B VW California XXL.



People waited in long lines to see this product and demonstrates people want smaller and efficient products.

HYMER had a large stand this year but it seems HYMER Europe and HYMER NA are distant relatives with different long-term plans.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:26 PM   #20
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It is still unclear to me whether it is customer inertia or unwillingness of NA manufacturers invest in new manufacturing to produce the quality seen in the Mercedes Marco Polo.

The standout product (concept) from the 2017 Dusseldorf Caravan exposition was the Class B VW California XXL.

People waited in long lines to see this product and demonstrates people want smaller and efficient products.

HYMER had a large stand this year but it seems HYMER Europe and HYMER NA are distant relatives with different long-term plans.
I read in one article that MB did a focus group with Metris Camper / Marco Polo US and it didn't test well. Surprising. I was thinking about Hymer Aktiv until I found out about Marco Polo. Stealth factor is too good to pass up, so I'd rather convert a Metris than buy a bigger non-stealth Hymer.
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