Mercedes-Benz announced yesterday that they sold 16,577 of their Sprinter Vans in calendar year 2011 – an impressive 94 percent year-on-year increase. Claus Tritt, General Manager of Commercial Vans for Mercedes-Benz USA, attributed the sales increase to the “strong, diverse network of 185 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner commercial van dealers” coupled with customer recognition of the benefits of the Sprinter chassis, “from large fleet operators (and) small construction businesses (to) mom-and-pop food trucks.” The Sprinter chassis is a popular RV base platform but will soon face increasing competition here in the US.
The current Sprinter – which is powered by the 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel engine (24.9 mpg highway) – offers potential customers a best-in-class cargo capacity of up to 547 cubic feet and a payload capacity of up to 5,358 pounds. The vehicle – which is offered at a base MSRP of $35,815 (Chassis Cab variant) – is equipped with ESP stability and rollover control, ABS anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist and traction control.
The US Sprinter Van has mirrored the success of its European counterpart which debuted back in 1995 as a replacement for the Mercedes-Benz T1 van. The MB Sprinter was introduced to the US market by Freightliner in 2001 and a new global Sprinter platform followed in 2006. Whilst Daimler AG will welcome the Sprinter’s current success they know that Ford is set to introduce their European Transit Van chassis to the US market beginning in 2013. Fiat also recently confirmed that not only will they be bringing their market leading Ducato chassis to North America but they will also debut their Doblo van in the US small van sector where it will compete against the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV. This increasing competition – whilst beneficial to the consumer – could mean that Mercedes-Benz will be hard pressed to replicate last year’s sales success after calendar year 2012.
- Ducato RV platform may follow Fiat Doblò van to the US
- Europe’s Ford Transit van RV platform coming to the US