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William Maley

Mercedez Benz News Mercedes-Benz Readies More Sprinter Models and Dealers For U.S.

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You could say the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is patient zero in the European Van invasion we are currently experiencing in the U.S. When it was introduced as the Dodge/Freightliner Sprinter back in the early 2000s, the vans became popular as they offered impressive space and fuel economy. Now with competitors such as the new Ram Promaster and upcoming Ford Transit featuring the recipe, Mercedes-Benz knows they have to be one step ahead.

"The Sprinter is the benchmark and the norm of the Euro-style vans. There is a revolution happening in the segment and big changes coming that were caused by the Sprinter -- vans with a smaller footprint but big cargo volume," said Bernie Glaser, Mercedes-Benz USA vice president and managing director of the van unit for the U.S.

To keep the Sprinter in the running with the new contenders, Mercedes-Benz has some plans in the works including a new four-wheel drive variant that will go on sale next year and the addition of 30 more dealers over the next five years. There is also talk of 12 passenger Sprinter model and the introduction of the new V-Class into the U.S.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)


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There's certainly not a lot of distinction in this increasingly-crowded segment, but the question remains what the association with the luxury aspect of the badge being increasingly seen on one of the most elemental & spartan vehicle on the road will do over the long run to perceptions. Because there's nothing 'mercedes' WRT a sprinter van...

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I think they should leave the V-class at home, at least for passenger duty, perhaps a cargo version for commercial applications could work since the Sprinter is huge. All wheel drive is a good idea for the snow belt. One thing that annoys me about the Sprinter is the V6 diesel is dated and sucks, 188 hp and 325 lb-ft and a 5-speed, when the 3.0 V6 in the cars has over 210 hp and over 400 lb-ft. A power upgrade and adding the 7-speed to the V6 would make sense.

The "Mercedes" trait that the Sprinter has is engineering, build quality and longevity. The hauling companies will buy it because they know they can put over 300,000 miles on it, and the gas mileage is decent for a vehicle that size.

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Have you looked at one up close? They're not built any better than the average cargo van. More to the point- it has a premium price but it reeks of cheapness.

You can get 300K out of about anything with decent maintenance; that claim is no longer a distinction.
Just today I heard the brother of my buddy say he had 320,000 on his Ford F-250 SD.

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There's certainly not a lot of distinction in this increasingly-crowded segment, but the question remains what the association with the luxury aspect of the badge being increasingly seen on one of the most elemental & spartan vehicle on the road will do over the long run to perceptions. Because there's nothing 'mercedes' WRT a sprinter van...

Offering spartan commercial vehicles has not tarnished the Mercedes-Benz nameplate here in Europe, so I really wouldn't expect it to do so in the US. People know the difference between a Sprinter van and an S-Class.

Edited by ZL-1

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MB Sprinters SUCK!

My brother in law who runs his own appliance repair and installation business got one as everyone he talked to said they are awesome, long lasting cheap to drive vans.

In the 100K miles he has owned it, the diesel has actually cost him more in fuel than a gas version probably would have. I am surprised how terrible these vans get for mileage. He has gone through 2 transmissions, Radio is dead, it died only a few thousand miles past warranty and MB was like you can pay us to put in a new one. He went to car toys and got a way better unit for a fraction of MB price.

The cheap plastic interior is so bad, he has multiple doors he has just decided to duck tape to keep closed. His Ford Econo line Van and then the van before this which was a GM duramax diesel were way better.

He has decided to drive it till the next major mechanic issue shows and then trade it in. He will NEVER BUY a MB product again.

Over Priced

Cheap Build Quality

Terrible Service

If this is what is to be expected out of the Euro Line of vans from everyone and this is considered the best van out there. America is in sad position to have GARBAGE Service vans.

GM / FORD need to build their own for this market and not import garbage.

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There's certainly not a lot of distinction in this increasingly-crowded segment, but the question remains what the association with the luxury aspect of the badge being increasingly seen on one of the most elemental & spartan vehicle on the road will do over the long run to perceptions. Because there's nothing 'mercedes' WRT a sprinter van...

Offering spartan commercial vehicles has not tarnished the Mercedes-Benz nameplate here in Europe, so I really wouldn't expect it to do so in the US.

The images of the brand differ a great deal from there to here from what I've seen.

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I think they should leave the V-class at home, at least for passenger duty, perhaps a cargo version for commercial applications could work since the Sprinter is huge. All wheel drive is a good idea for the snow belt. One thing that annoys me about the Sprinter is the V6 diesel is dated and sucks, 188 hp and 325 lb-ft and a 5-speed, when the 3.0 V6 in the cars has over 210 hp and over 400 lb-ft. A power upgrade and adding the 7-speed to the V6 would make sense.

The "Mercedes" trait that the Sprinter has is engineering, build quality and longevity. The hauling companies will buy it because they know they can put over 300,000 miles on it, and the gas mileage is decent for a vehicle that size.

Have you actually seen Sprinters in our area? They rust like an '80s Toyota...

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Nothing rusts like an 80s Toyota, lol, I don't think there are even any 90s Toyotas that aren't rusted out. Heck, I have seen Toyotas from the 2000s with rust all over them.

I don't think people that buy a Mercedes car, care at all that they sell commercial vans or trucks, if they like the car they will buy the car. It obviously doesn't matter in Europe, where Mercedes does quite well, and they do quite well here too. I think any other luxury brand would trade to be in Mercedes position with maybe the exception of BMW since their sales levels are about the same and they have a younger customer base.

The Euro van is the new wave, I think the Transit will do well, GM's offerings in the commercial segment are going to look really dated really soon unless they rethink their vans. The Sprinter is expensive, so it will never be a volume threat to Ford, GM or Ram.

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where is GM with any new product in any of these commercial segments?

Well, they do have the Nissan based Chevy City Express...which is a really cheap ass way of doing things, the kind of crap GM did 40 years ago w/ Isuzu's cruddy little LUV pickup (I remember how quickly those rusted out in Ohio back in the day). They Express is still soldiering on, as ancient as it is..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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I loved my LUV truck, never had a rust problem. My dad bought it new in 1975, a 76 model Series 5 Luv Truck for $1750.00. He then gave it to me as a project truck in Highschool and bought himself a new one. I totally restored it and rebuilt everything on it and it still is around, sold to a lady engineer who loved the truck. While not in the shap I had it in, she still drives it. Those Isuzu motors last.

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I loved my LUV truck, never had a rust problem. My dad bought it new in 1975, a 76 model Series 5 Luv Truck for $1750.00. He then gave it to me as a project truck in Highschool and bought himself a new one. I totally restored it and rebuilt everything on it and it still is around, sold to a lady engineer who loved the truck. While not in the shap I had it in, she still drives it. Those Isuzu motors last.

No road salt in Wa, I guess...IIRC, there were very few of them left on the road in Ohio by the late '80s...typical '70s Japanese vehicles that rusted out very quickly. IIRC new ones were rusting on the lots in Florida..GM had to crush hundreds of them back around '82 when the S10 came out...

(but I'll admit I've never liked compact pickups--found must of them to be cheap, noisy and cramped).

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Ironically, I saw a Freightliner Sprinter today, that someone had zip-tied a MB logo over the grille. Classy.
The theory that a vast quantity of people aren't buying MBs, either cars or commercial vans, because of the brand name is a weak one.

As far as 'being mercedes', that's poses an interesting question. I do recall reading the same opinion when GM was well over a 30% marketshare and fleeting like a whoremaster, that 'GM is doing pretty well'... and everybody just nodding their heads along. MB is first & foremost a fleet vehicle seller in Europe, and they are bringing their 'low-hanging fruit' to this market next, and dumping their top end. Will be interesting to watch.

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There's certainly not a lot of distinction in this increasingly-crowded segment, but the question remains what the association with the luxury aspect of the badge being increasingly seen on one of the most elemental & spartan vehicle on the road will do over the long run to perceptions. Because there's nothing 'mercedes' WRT a sprinter van...

Offering spartan commercial vehicles has not tarnished the Mercedes-Benz nameplate here in Europe, so I really wouldn't expect it to do so in the US.

The images of the brand differ a great deal from there to here from what I've seen.

MB's image in the US is one of snobbery, to put it in a very politically incorrect way. Over here the image is of a top-of-the-line car maker that also makes other products such as commercial vehicles (which it has for decades, BTW). The fact that the company produces delivery trucks under the Mercedes-Benz name has never stood in the way of the company's other cars being regarded as top-of-the-line.

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Nothing rusts like an 80s Toyota, lol, I don't think there are even any 90s Toyotas that aren't rusted out. Heck, I have seen Toyotas from the 2000s with rust all over them.

I don't think people that buy a Mercedes car, care at all that they sell commercial vans or trucks, if they like the car they will buy the car. It obviously doesn't matter in Europe, where Mercedes does quite well, and they do quite well here too. I think any other luxury brand would trade to be in Mercedes position with maybe the exception of BMW since their sales levels are about the same and they have a younger customer base.

The Euro van is the new wave, I think the Transit will do well, GM's offerings in the commercial segment are going to look really dated really soon unless they rethink their vans. The Sprinter is expensive, so it will never be a volume threat to Ford, GM or Ram.

I will be interesting, soon the only manufacturers of what we think of as the "traditional" work van will be GM and .... Nissan.

But no.. the Sprinters have severe rust problems compared to the domestic 2.

I don't know how the Pro-Masters will hold up rust wise, but they do provide a compelling case against the Sprinter, GMs and Nissan because they have a substantially lower load floor and they have powertrain options that the others don't have (both gas V6 or diesel power) and the V6 has much more power than the old 4.3 in the GMs.

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I loved my LUV truck, never had a rust problem. My dad bought it new in 1975, a 76 model Series 5 Luv Truck for $1750.00. He then gave it to me as a project truck in Highschool and bought himself a new one. I totally restored it and rebuilt everything on it and it still is around, sold to a lady engineer who loved the truck. While not in the shap I had it in, she still drives it. Those Isuzu motors last.

No road salt in Wa, I guess...IIRC, there were very few of them left on the road in Ohio by the late '80s...typical '70s Japanese vehicles that rusted out very quickly. IIRC new ones were rusting on the lots in Florida..GM had to crush hundreds of them back around '82 when the S10 came out...

(but I'll admit I've never liked compact pickups--found must of them to be cheap, noisy and cramped).

TRUE, Road Salt is bad for the environment, they use a biodegradable liquid spray for frozen roads and snow. That is one thing to say that I rarely find rusted out auto's here. If they are, they usually came in from a Midwest or East coast state.

Ironically, I saw a Freightliner Sprinter today, that someone had zip-tied a MB logo over the grille. Classy.

The theory that a vast quantity of people aren't buying MBs, either cars or commercial vans, because of the brand name is a weak one.

As far as 'being mercedes', that's poses an interesting question. I do recall reading the same opinion when GM was well over a 30% marketshare and fleeting like a whoremaster, that 'GM is doing pretty well'... and everybody just nodding their heads along. MB is first & foremost a fleet vehicle seller in Europe, and they are bringing their 'low-hanging fruit' to this market next, and dumping their top end. Will be interesting to watch.

Makes me think that MB could be in the same position that GM was in the late 90's early 2000's and end up needing to totally reboot the company and jettison lines.

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Balthy... my buddy's 2007 E-350 has 375K on it and it runs strong as hell... it constantly gets runs grossly overloaded.

A Sprinter will never live up to that.

I thought GM already has decided to phase out the Express/Savanna and replace it with a wimpy Eurovan... that leaves Nissan with the only heavy duty old school work van. And I've heard good things about them.

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There's certainly not a lot of distinction in this increasingly-crowded segment, but the question remains what the association with the luxury aspect of the badge being increasingly seen on one of the most elemental & spartan vehicle on the road will do over the long run to perceptions. Because there's nothing 'mercedes' WRT a sprinter van...

Offering spartan commercial vehicles has not tarnished the Mercedes-Benz nameplate here in Europe, so I really wouldn't expect it to do so in the US.

The images of the brand differ a great deal from there to here from what I've seen.

MB's image in the US is one of snobbery, to put it in a very politically incorrect way. Over here the image is of a top-of-the-line car maker that also makes other products such as commercial vehicles (which it has for decades, BTW). The fact that the company produces delivery trucks under the Mercedes-Benz name has never stood in the way of the company's other cars being regarded as top-of-the-line.

May be Europe is an exception than rule, because almost every other part of the world thinks MB as a snob badge. Just ask an Indian or a Chinese or a Kenyan and snobs throb to MB. Europeans may be have accustomed of having two different flavors of vanilla.

The perception MB portays in US is that not of a vanilla but of triple chocolate strawberry with banana bits mashed in pineapple and complete with Acai berry. Of course when a mediocre van comes into picture those high standars wll be doubted. SMK hardly bought the car because it was bulletproof but because it was his favorite brand which reeks luxury.

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May be Europe is an exception than rule, because almost every other part of the world thinks MB as a snob badge. Just ask an Indian or a Chinese or a Kenyan and snobs throb to MB. Europeans may be have accustomed of having two different flavors of vanilla.

The perception MB portays in US is that not of a vanilla but of triple chocolate strawberry with banana bits mashed in pineapple and complete with Acai berry. Of course when a mediocre van comes into picture those high standars wll be doubted. SMK hardly bought the car because it was bulletproof but because it was his favorite brand which reeks luxury.

But that is where I have to totally Disagree with SMK and most people. Other than the M Series from BMW and the AMG series from MB, I do not think their normal car line REEKS of LUXURY!

This goes with SMK's E series, Nice Car but nothing special other than the badge on the hood. The interior is not impressive and does not have a quality build IMHO.

The wife always told me I never do seem to get hung up in the marketing message as I feel this way about cloths and other items of so called Luxury. People are so concerned with a name badge that they forget that just because it has built a marketing image one way does not mean it really is that.

Sprinter is a perfect example of over priced plastic garbage with Terrible customer service and yet they sell them on the MB lots at outrageous prices.

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      In line with Ford’s global fitness approach to build, partner or buy, Ford of Europe will leverage relationships – such as the successful Ford Otosan joint venture and the potential alliance with Volkswagen AG – to support its commercial vehicle growth.
      Passenger Vehicles: Ford will establish a more targeted portfolio of European-built passenger vehicles focused on the quality, technology-rich and fun-to-drive DNA of the Ford brand, with the goal of building emotional connections with customers through sporty and progressive designs.
      Every Ford nameplate from the all-new Ford Focus onwards will include an electrified option.  This includes new nameplates and new versions of existing vehicles. From Fiesta to Transit, either a mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery electric option will be offered, delivering one of the most encompassing line-ups of electrified options for European customers.
      Ford also will build on its success in the growing utility segment in Europe. Ford SUV sales – comprising EcoSport, Kuga and Edge – hit a record high in 2018, surpassing a quarter million vehicles sold for the first time.
      Imported Vehicles: A niche portfolio of imported iconic nameplates for Europe that builds on the heritage of the Ford brand will include Mustang, Edge, and another SUV to be revealed in April, along with an all-new Mustang-inspired full-electric performance utility in 2020.
      Additional efficiency actions
      Ford’s new strategy will result in a more efficient and focused business. Key actions already underway include:
      Production at the Ford Aquitaine Industries plant in Bordeaux, France, which manufactures small automatic transmissions, will end in August 2019. Formal discussions have begun between Ford and its Works Council to end production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX at the Saarlouis Body and Assembly Plant in Germany as the compact MPV segment shrinks in Europe. Ford is undertaking a strategic review of Ford Sollers, its joint venture in Russia. Several significant restructuring options for Ford Sollers are being considered by Ford and its partner, Sollers PJSC. A decision is expected in the second quarter.   Ford plans to consolidate its UK headquarters and Ford Credit Europe’s headquarters at the Ford Dunton Technical Center in South East Essex to improve business fitness and create a customer-centric technical hub. The action is subject to union consultation and local approvals. “Working collectively with all stakeholders, our new strategy will enable us to deliver a more focused line up of European-built passenger vehicles, while growing our import and commercial vehicle businesses – for a healthier and more profitable business,” added Armstrong. 
      Ford will provide specific details of its strategy in the coming months, once appropriate formal consultation with its Works Council and trade union partners has concluded.
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