Wow - this one has been a long time coming.
24 years to be exact.
When VW stopped bringing the T4 model (AKA the Eurovan) into the US market in 2003, a giant, yawning gap started to open. For the first 5-10 years, this lack of a garage-able, daily driver-able, camper van wasn't that big of a deal. The T3 (Vanagons) were still plugging along and felt modern enough for people, there were lots of Eurovans on the used market, and there was persistent and hopeful rumors of VW bringing their newest European iteration (the T5 and later the T6) into the US Market.
Alas, here we find ourselves, late into 2017 and there is still nothing in the market like our beloved Vanagons and Eurovans. We look across the ocean and drool at the options in Europe and wonder "why??! please can we have one?".
As ridiculously passionate participants in this "small footprint" camper van market, we - too - ponder that question every day. VW is not going to bring the T5/T6 into the US Market (the reasons for this have to do with tax, compliance, tariffs, global auto manufacturing consolidation, VW balance sheet, etc.) and their perpetually emerging promise to bring to market an electric micro bus being is just that - a marketing ploy they roll out every year at the Detroit Auto Show.
We all see the super cool Marco Polo and Westfalia conversions in Europe and we drool and say "why not here".
Simply put, we had to do something.
For the past 18 months we have been working with a series of suppliers from Europe and the US to create a compelling, compliant and cool solution. Starting in November, 2017 we are excited about bringing to market a modern camper van built on the Mercedes Metris platform. Yes, we are doing Mercedes Metris camper conversions.
Mercedes Metris Camper Conversions
Available now, we are offering three exciting options.
- Pop Top on Your Mercedes Metris. No Interior modifications
- Weekender. Like the classic Eurovan and Vanagon Weekenders - a pop top, a rear seat that folds flat, and some other goodies.
- Full Camper. A kin to our beloved Westys, but vastly updated. A full Mercedes Metris Camper Conversion.
More information, including pricing is here
We currently have two vans with pop tops ready for you to touch, feel and drive - one cargo and one passenger, and are now doing about one customer install per month. The camper conversions, sadly, won't be here until March and we won't be installing them until then. We understand it's hard to buy something without touching and feeling, but we have flown to Germany twice to vet and inspect these conversions and they more than meet our high quality bar. We have lots of pictures, fabric and material samples.
Below are some pictures from a recent top install on a Cargo version of a Mercedes Metris. We will be posting more pictures of the process, the tops, and the interiors as we progress. But, come down to the shop to see first hand.
Interested? Contact us now.
These conversions are extremely limited in 2018, so if you are interested, contact us soon. The best way to start is either a phone call or an email both are on our contact us page
Peace Vans prides itself on our craftsmanship, transparency and commitment to partnerships. In the spirit of transparency, we want everyone interested in this project to understand that there is tremendous amount of complexity in bringing this to market. While we have more than enough skills, IQ and expertise to do so, we will require your patience throughout 2018 with what is an exciting new project. We are seeking those first customers who are as excited, passionate and committed as we are.
Some Simple Questions and Answers:
Q. Why Should I work with Peace Vans?
A. There's a lot of people "playing" around the Metris market. We all see the same thing - in many ways this is the ideal replacement for our beloved Vanagons and Eurovans. We ask ourselves every day - what is going to be our unique value in this market since, in the short term, many of us are (honestly speaking), importing and sourcing basically a lot of the same stuff.
The Peace Vans difference comes in many different forms.
1. We are the largest VW Camper Van shop in North America. You don't get that without a lot of hard work, dedication, passion and technical expertise. We are bringing all that to bear on this Metris project. Our entire team of 17 people are excited about this market and ready to work on it.
2. We have a deep, deep, deep understanding of the market requirements for "small footprint" camper vans. We live and breath this stuff everyday.
3. We are well established, financially viable entity. We are here for the long haul.
4. We innovate, test, iterate. Constantly. While the first iterations of the Metris are based on generally available parts, we are already exploring advances in suspension, electrical, and after market accessories.
5. Customer Service. We care a lot about every single customer. From the low to no budget vintage VW bus owner to the new Metris customers - every single customer is treated with respect, kindness, and attention. Read our reviews, ask around about us. We think you'll love working with us.
6. We have done a lot of the heavy lifting with lawyers, homologation experts (we didn't even know that meant 12 months ago), consultants and the FMVSS board.
Q. What does this mean for your service and commitment to the VW platform?
A. Oh my. It means NOTHING! We absolutely are 100% committed to continuing to be the best VW camper van shop in the US and continue to invest and grow that business. Peace Vans "the shop" is going nowhere and we will be here for a long time to support our beloved, loyal customer base. We can't stress enough that our investment in the Metris means nothing but good stuff for our existing business and customer base.
Q. Why the Metris?
A. We've driven the Ford Transit, the Nissan NV, the Renault and others - and, as they say, nothing drives like a Mercedes. Honestly, it's a beautifully driving vehicle. The lines on itcomplement a pop top, and the interior space (while a bit smaller than our beloved VWs) is enough for a comfortable camper van. We also find the dealer support to be excellent and while little to none of the Sprinter innovations will carry over, there is that history of camping innovation.
Q. Cutting a hole in a $40,000 car seem precarious. Can Peace Vans do that?
A. Peace Vans is the largest VW Camper Van repair shop in the US. We have 16 employees who have all been hired and retained because of their commitment to excellence, their integrity and their skills. We are a highly qualified shop. It's not unusual to work on vehicles that are worth more than $100,000. While cutting the top of your van requires care and attention, it is a simple process relative to most of the work we do daily.
Q. I'm having a hard time committing to a Camper or Weekender conversion without seeing it - what can you do to help?
A. We understand. We have a bevy of materials (printed and electronic) we can share to help guide you. We don't think you will be unhappy.
Q. What are the timelines again - it's confusing.
A. Yes, we are aware it's a bit confusing. Reach out to us and we can simplify things. But, basically it's - we can install pop tops now. Camper conversions we are taking deposits on but they won't be ready to be installed until Spring 2018. You can buy a passenger van now, have a pop top on it and have tons of fun. Then, when the camper conversions arrive (Full Camper or Weekender) we can do a Phase 2 and install that configuration.