Quick, what van immediately comes to mind when you mention Mercedes-Benz? If you said the V-Class or the Vito, we're not entirely surprised as those two have become synonymous to the brand itself. But have you ever heard of the Citan?

In case you're not in the know, the Citan (first launched in 2012) is a small utility van that can be used for commercial needs or as a leisure van for transporting people. Depending on the variant, it can be as small as a mini MPV or as long as a panel van, give or take. Essentially a twin (badge-engineered) to the Renault Kangoo, the Citan may not have been as successful without the help of the French automaker.

In line with this, Mercedes-Benz announced that they will be developing the next-generation Citan with the help of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. You read right, the new small van will once again be designed & developed by both Mercedes and The Alliance.

“The new Citan will undergo a comprehensive new development and clearly be recognizable as a Mercedes-Benz at first glance. We will provide for a distinctive brand-adequate identity in the successor of our small van,” said Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Mercedes teams up with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi for new small van image

While no exact details have been given, we won't be surprised if the all-new Citan will have a similar design like the V-Class. That means it could have tapered headlights, a bigger front grill, and a more imposing profile than before. Size-wise, it may grow a few inches but since it caters to the small utility van market, it need not outgrow its predecessor.

But what is more surprising with the all-new Citan is that there will be a an electric version. Aside from the turbo-gasoline and turbo-diesel versions, an electric variant will be added to the range to meet stricter emission laws in key markets. Plus, it will expand Mercedes-Benz's lineup of electric vehicles aside from the EQ line of EVs.

Does this mean that Nissan or Mitsubishi will have a version of the Citan for their own? That remains to be seen since both companies already offer the Xpander and Livina MPVs. However, having a small utility van on their lineup might boost their presence in other markets like Europe.

As of writing, there is no exact timeline yet as to when the all-new Cita will be revealed, though our best guess is that will be be revealed some time in 2020 or 2021.