Last week, the entire international media was abuzz with the Mercedes Benz Citan. Not because of its stonking engine performance or on-the-edge cornering, but because of its abysmal Euro NCAP rating.
The Mercedes Citan scored a miserable 3/5 stars. For a European car in 2013, that is considered borderline poor. For a three-pointed star, the result was shocking.
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What is the Mercedes Citan?
The Citan is van, and like all European vans, you can have it configured to carry your luggage (Transporter) or people (family van).
What's the fuss about?
While Mercedes showed the van at a few auto shows and while a particular Spanish media rated it as the Van of the year, the Euro NCAP result was released only recently. The Citan fared very badly, especially for a vehicle bearing a three-pointed star logo. One of the airbags, reportedly, did not pop up during a crash as well.
[The Renault Kangoo (left) was rebadged as the Mercedes Benz Citan (right) without changes to the structural aspect of the vehicle]
Why did the Citan bomb in the crash tests?
The Citan is not a creation of Daimler. It is born out of the cooperation between Renault and Daimler. In short, the Citan is a rebadged Renault Kangoo, an economy commercial vehicle launched in 2008. So the Citan may have a diamond grille up front like the A Class, and call the S Class a distant relative, but it won't have the Mercedes family DNA as it was developed by Renault's engineers to standards lower to say a Mercedes Vito, way before the formation of this partnership.
What is Mercedes is doing to rectify the mess?
All 3,500 Citans delivered till now are being called back. Mercedes will install new window airbags on the van at their own expense. While the recall will instill a bit of faith, the fact that one of the oldest and most established German car maker's product has failed to live up to its reputation is a black mark.
With the launch of the new S Class days away, Mercedes has to get some positive publicity.
[Source - Automobil Woche]