European-model Mercedes-Benz Vito electric van. The Vito is sold on this side of the Atlantic as the Metris .  Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans

European-model Mercedes-Benz Vito electric van. The Vito is sold on this side of the Atlantic as the Metris. Photo: Mercedes-Benz Vans

Stuttgart, Germany-based Mercedes-Benz Vans has announced it set a new record for unit sales in 2017 and for the first time passed the 40,000-vehicles sold mark. The division also again gave a taste of what its next-generation Sprinter will offer.

In addition, the division has now grown continuously for five consecutive years. On the basis of initial December results, the division increased its overall wholesale unit sales by around 12% percent to a total of some 401,000 vehicles.

While all models contributed to this growth with best-ever figures, Mercedes-Benz Vans also stated that it sold more of its “van icon,” the Sprinter, than ever before in its last full year before the launch of the next-generation model.

However, M-B Vans reported that its ‘”strongest growth driver – in addition to the very successful fleet business – was once again the strong demand for the Vito van [which is sold in North America as the Metris] and the V-Class multipurpose vehicle. In 2017, both of those models were fully available for the first time in China, which is now the world’s biggest vehicle market.

“Our ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ growth strategy was very successful once again in 2017,” said Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Volker Mornhinweg, “Four consecutive record years represent an outstanding performance by our global team…We have great plans also for 2018; with the new Sprinter, the most important market launch in the van segment from our perspective is coming up soon.”

Mornhinweg said Mercedes-Benz will “open up the digital era in this segment” with the next-generation Sprinter, which it will roll out to the media next month. “With the new Sprinter, we will provide exactly those solutions in the vehicle that will help our customers make their business more efficient in a connected world – in the form of hardware in the vehicle and with new, connected services.”

Unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans increased in all regions in 2017 and numerous new records were set. In the EU30 region, sales increased by around 9% to around 273,300 vehicles (2016: 249,900), with an increase of around 10% in Germany to around 105,800 units (2016: 96,100) – both of these figures are new records.

And there was growth also in the NAFTA region, to around 44,800 units sold (2016: 43,400, +3%), including the new record of around 34,200 vehicles sold by Mercedes-Benz Vans in the U.S. (2016: 33,700, +1%). The development of sales was positive also in Latin America, with significant growth of around 31% around 16,400 units (2016: 12,500).

Driven by the launch in China of the Vito and V-Class in 2016, unit sales there increased “very significantly” by around 75% to around 23,800 vehicles (2016: 13,600).

Mercedes-Benz said the Sprinter “confirmed its reputation as one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and as the best-seller from Mercedes-Benz Vans also in 2017.” A total of around 200,500 Sprinter vans were sold worldwide – more than ever before in one year (2016: 193,400, +4%) – and that was in the last full year of the model cycle.

The current generation Sprinter has been on the market since 2006. Its successor will have its world premiere in February and will be the first vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Vans to embody the principles of “advance”-- a future initiative the van manufacturer is developing to provide “holistic transport and mobility solutions.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans further teased the rollout of the next Sprinter by saying it will be equipped with the latest connectivity hardware so it can “become part of the internet of things, thus opening up the possibility to implement completely new, customer-specific solutions.”

And the OEM added that as of 2019, the new Sprinter will also be available with electric battery drive. Back in November, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced that it in the next few years, it will eventually offer all its van models for the commercial segment with electric drive.

Related: Mercedes-Benz Expands Van Offerings 

Originally posted on Trucking Info

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David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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