Chicago Auto Show 2020

Metris Weekender draws inspiration from Mercedes-Benz's past

There's overlanding and then there's overlanding in style in the Metris Weekender.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its first pop-up camper for the U.S. market at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show. Drawing inspiration on models of the past, the Metris Weekender camper van features a wide range of convenience features with an updated, modern design.

This Weekender is intended to be adaptable to a variety of needs. Whether you're traveling cross country, heading out for a weekend getaway, or simply taking a day trip to the mountains, the Weekender adds to the experience.

Mercedes-Benz Metris Weekender Owners can pop out and pop up tents of the Metris Weekender.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Standard features include an elevating roof with sleeping room for two, an integrated spring system, two-inch memory foam mattress, three windows, and extra USB ports for lights and charging. There's additional sleeping room from the multipurpose rear bench seat, which opens into a bed for two.

If it's not sleeping accommodations but cargo room, that same bench seat helps adapt the Weekender for cargo. It moves along a rail into four locations to accommodate a variety of needs. Available roof racks are perfect for surfboards, skis, and larger items and the Weekender can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

The front seats swivel 180 degrees to turn the interior into a living space where everyone can easily interact. The Weekender will get you where you need to go, and then make it quick and easy to set up camp and relax.

Optional features make the Weekender even more versatile with off-grid power and integrated solar panels. There's upgraded audio and navigation to make the trip more fun and a range of personalization options with 200 available 3M wraps from which to choose.

Mercedes-Benz Metris Weekender The model has room for sleeping, dining, and riding.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

An available eight-foot awning is ideal for lounging in the shade and offering rain protection while bug screens for the rear hatch and sliding doors keep insects away. There's also a tent that attaches to the rear lift gate offering extra space and privacy and even an available pullout rear kitchen.

The Metris Weekender offers comprehensive safety that includes crosswind assist, load adaptive electronic stability, and attention assist along with good fuel economy so longer trips are easier on the family budget. Its 15,000-mile service interval lets you drive further before you need to schedule maintenance.

Mercedes-Benz Metris Weekender The Weekender makes sleeping over easy with an available fold-out bed.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Customers can order the Weekender from any authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer starting this spring. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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