With more than 100 years of commercial vehicle experience, Mercedes-Benz is making sure the Sprinter continues to stand out as a leader in the commercial van segment. At a Sept. 13 media event in Chicago, Work Truck had an opportunity to check out the latest features and customizations available for fleet customers.
Currently, the Sprinter is offered in several body styles to accommodate a broader range of customers: Cargo Van, Extended Cargo Van, Crew Van, Passenger Van, Cab Chassis, and MiniBus.
According to Claus Tritt, general manager of Commercial Vans for Mercedes-Benz USA, 75 percent of Sprinters sold are upfitted.
“At the end of the day, it needs to represent the company using it. The body is well thought-out and provides our customers a lot of payload,” he noted, describing some of the vehicle’s design, engineering, and ergonomic features.
Equipped with a 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel engine providing 188 hp and 325 lb.-ft. torque, vehicle highlights include:
- Large front windshield and side windows for visibility.
- Turning radius of 54.6 feet.
- Lightweight front-end design for better handling.
- Clear access to cargo area from driver/passenger seats.
- Cargo capacity up to 547 cubic feet.
- Payload capacity up to 5,358 lbs.
- Rear doors that open 270-degrees.
- Load Adaptive Electronic Stability Program (ESP) for added safety.
To demonstrate its versatility, the automaker invited several upfitters to display their conversions onsite at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Mercedes-Benz currently partners with 79 upfitters through its Preferred Upfitter Program.
Upfitter categories in the program include van bodies/boxes, ambulances, service bodies, refrigeration, armored, and broadcasting. Conversion companies on site included Morgan Olson (delivery), ETI (aerial lift), Paul Maranda (service body), Ranger Design (custom shelving), and Arctic Vans (refrigerated).
According to several of the upfitters at the event, the Sprinter’s visibility, driver comfort, and fuel economy (approximately 18-20 mpg) were some of the key selling points cited by their vocational customers.
Background on Branding
More than 1.5 million Sprinters have been sold worldwide since the van’s original launch in Europe in 1995. In 2001, it made its way into the U.S. market under the Freightliner brand, later incorporating itself into DaimlerChrysler in 2003 and adding the Dodge badge to its identity. In 2010, Mercedes-Benz made its mark on the van, and that same year the Dodge version was discontinued. Today, the Sprinter is marketed under both the Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner brands and earned a spot on Vincentric’s “2012 Best Fleet Value in America” list.