Sprinter Plans Growth in Euro-Style Van Market
A decade ago, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was an outlier in the U.S. van market, as the Ford E-Series and Chevrolet Express dominated the segment.
But the Sprinter gained a lot of fans with its capacious cargo capacity and fuel-efficient diesel powertrains. Fast-forward to today and there are a lot of similar-looking and similarly configured competitors. But, according to an Automotive News report, Mercedes-Benz isn’t content on resting on its laurels with the Sprinter and, in fact, plans on expanding its network of commercial dealers in addition to possibly adding another, smaller van below the current Sprinter to the U.S. lineup.
Mercedes-Benz USA vice president Bernie Glaser, who is in charge of the company’s van unit, said the Sprinter sub-brand is well positioned to take advantage of the growing popularity of European-style tall vans. Mercedes recently debuted an updated V-Class rear-drive van in Europe, which is slightly smaller and lower than the Sprinter, more oriented toward passenger duty than cargo hauling. The Sprinter currently generates $1 billion in revenue for
Mercedes’ U.S. operations, and MBUSA is planning on adding 30 more dealerships that carry the Sprinter from the current total of 188. The 4×4 model that recently debuted in Europe has been announced for sale in the U.S. market starting in calendar 2015.