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FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – Mercedes plans to make further inroads with its Sprinter fullsize commercial van, which has posted year-over-year U.S. sales gains each of the past five consecutive years.

The automaker isn’t seeking to dominate the segment, but rather entrench itself with loyal users and attract new consumers who are looking for an unique commercial-van offering, says Bernhard Glaser, vice president and managing director-Mercedes-Benz commercial vans.

“We don’t have a (sales) benchmark,” he tells WardsAuto at a media event here. “But we have every intention to set another sales record this year.”

Mercedes last year delivered 21,816 Sprinters in the U.S., and through March sales were up 7.9% to 4,624, according to WardsAuto data. In comparison, segment-leader Ford sold 125,356 Econoline vans in 2013.

Ford later this year will discontinue the Econoline and introduce the Transit fullsize van, which is a high-roof, European-style van like the Sprinter.

Glaser says the switchover may create an opening for Mercedes to conquest some sales, as Ford still has to convince its owner base the Transit is a superior product to the Econoline.

“Ford’s customers are used to the Econoline, so they first need to succeed in converting their customer base from that to the more Euro-style look,” he says. “They also have to try and match us in fuel efficiency with our 4-cyl. engine.”


The new ’14 Sprinter comes standard with a 2.1L 4-cyl. diesel engine producing 161 hp and 266 lb.-ft. (360 Nm) of torque. Also available is a 3.0L V-6 diesel making 188 hp and 325 lb.-ft. (440 Nm) of torque. Both are mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Other fuel-saving technologies include a generator-management system, an advanced fuel pump and a power-steering pump that only is activated when power assistance actually is required.

Trucks over 8,500 lbs. gross-vehicle weight (3,855 kg) are not required to post fuel-economy numbers but, according to Mercedes, owners of the Sprinter with the 4-cyl. diesel averages about 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km).
Mercedes Seeks to Continue Sprinter Success | Sales & Marketing content from WardsAuto

Does anyone here agree?
 

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Sounds like trash-talk, I am buying a Transit. Sprinter is a good van,but servicing them is another thing. Not all Mercedes dealers service them.Go on sprinter-source and this is the #1 complaint (stand alone scaner for codes) Ford dealers everywhere,contractors say when customers see that Mercedes star on the front grill= higher charge rates to them. They are worried about this van,its better than the econoline we just need to start getting them out.
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VanMan
 

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Sounds like trash-talk, I am buying a Transit. Sprinter is a good van,but servicing them is another thing. Not all Mercedes dealers service them.Go on sprinter-source and this is the #1 complaint (stand alone scaner for codes) Ford dealers everywhere,contractors say when customers see that Mercedes star on the front grill= higher charge rates to them. They are worried about this van,its better than the econoline we just need to start getting them out.
Regards,
VanMan
Speaking of that, there's another bit from the article:

Mercedes is seeking to expand its U.S. Sprinter dealer base. Glaser says in order to receive authorization to sell the commercial truck, dealers must have dedicated sales and service personnel, maintain Sprinter stock levels and have specialized repair and service equipment.

“Also, the dealer has to be in a location where we’re looking to add a (showroom), so it needs to be a white spot,” he says. “You also need to be a dealer delivering above-average customer experience, which we measure through CSI and SSI scores.”
Will Ford also require this for the Transit?
 

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Speaking of that, there's another bit from the article:



Will Ford also require this for the Transit?
ford wont need this

im sure all their dealers will already be able to service the transit.

not need to go through as much of a hassle as mercedes.
 

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I don't really think that this opportunity to conquest sales is as big as Mercedes is making it out to be. People will be convinced of the Transit by simply deciding if they like it or not. Most will already have a bias towards it though. I just think that the Transit would have to mess up pretty bad in order to cause loyal Ford customers to look into Mercedes.

So there could be a small amount of conquest, but it really just depends on if the Transit isn't great, and that doesn't seem to be the case.
 

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I have to say i love the fact that they're judging dealers partially based on the service they give which is a big plus:

“Also, the dealer has to be in a location where we’re looking to add a (showroom), so it needs to be a white spot,” he says. “You also need to be a dealer delivering above-average customer experience, which we measure through CSI and SSI scores.”
 

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......cut.....

So there could be a small amount of conquest, but it really just depends on if the Transit isn't great, and that doesn't seem to be the case.
I agree with Orton above, and your point also. The reality of the situation is that until recently only Sprinters offered high roofs, longer lengths, and higher volume, so many looking for work vans, shuttles, or campers where standing headroom and cargo capacity are important were driven to the Sprinter. If anything I'd expect Sprinter market share to drop. An increase at the expense of Ford, and RAM to a lesser degree, seems unlikely to me. Between higher price, higher maintenance costs (assumed due to reports), and fewer dealers, M-B might have a tough time.
 

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If Transit is good, the "Sprinter Boss" is in for a rude awakening. I would say he is out of touch with reality.
Agreed,

Then again, it would be absurd to hear them [publicly] say anything besides what you just saw... Perhaps in private, but you won't see any MB people releasing statements about how much the competition is hurting their sales. The same reason you often don't hear about a store closing until they're climbing the ladder to hang the big "STORE CLOSING SALE" banner

I think they're going to lose a lot of longtime customers, and I REALLY don't see many Econoline owners jumping ship unless the new Transit is a complete dud.

And along those lines, one of the biggest reasons I have such high hopes for the Transit is BECAUSE they are discontinuing the E series, the #1 selling cargo van in the US for the past,what? 60 years? For this design. A bold move. Ford thinks it's going to kick ass and I tend to agree.
 

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I would think after getting your butt handed to you in two world wars that when a Yankee brings a new product out you would at least give them some respect. Todd
 

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The Transit has been built for many many years, so its not like Ford is going into this blind. If I was unhappy with the USA transit, I would go buy a GM/Chevy van. Better driving/riding (2 wheelbases) than the econoline and if they put the gasoline direct injection V8 in it it like the pickups watch out!
As I said before, Mercedes is worried about this Van. If anything, the very people who are/have bought Sprinters will be coming this way

There are already (Welcome) Sprinter owners here, I would have kept my mouth shut than stating that the econoline guys are going to buy a higher priced,harder to get serviced Sprinter

Just say'n

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VanMan
 

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they are sure playing a big card by killing off the E series.
If they put an E-series badge on the Transit and called it an all new E-series, would that make you happier? Just Curious.

Van customers have been bitching and moaning for years about how antiquated the E series is. If Ford hadn't been asleep at the wheel, I doubt Mercedes would have even brought the Sprinter here given their exchange rate penalty. I swear if they hadn't changed the name, I don't think 90% of the people would have said a word about it.
 

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If they put an E-series badge on the Transit and called it an all new E-series, would that make you happier? Just Curious.
While *I'M* not unhappy, you couldn't see how a business owner who, for decades, has been using Econoline vans, might be a BIT upset when Ford, who they've given millions of dollars worth of business to, says:

"Yep. The E-series is discontinued starting next year. Check out the Transit"

And when you do, you see the Transit is about 70% the truck that the current Econoline is?

IE The new van won't work

IE Put as many E-series badges on it as you want, it's not gonna help it tow more. It no longer works for your business. Period.

While we're at it, how about we just bring some euro Fiesta over here and put a 2015 Mustang badge on it? No more Mustangs, effective immediately. Doesn't matter, as long as we put that badge on it the diehard fans fans will be happy...

Nope

They are playing a HYUUUUGE card by nixing the #1 selling van since the for 60-70 years running.
 

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While *I'M* not unhappy, you couldn't see how a business owner who, for decades, has been using Econoline vans, might be a BIT upset when Ford, who they've given millions of dollars worth of business to, says:

"Yep. The E-series is discontinued starting next year. Check out the Transit"

And when you do, you see the Transit is about 70% the truck that the current Econoline is?

IE The new van won't work

IE Put as many E-series badges on it as you want, it's not gonna help it tow more. It no longer works for your business. Period.

While we're at it, how about we just bring some euro Fiesta over here and put a 2015 Mustang badge on it? No more Mustangs, effective immediately. Doesn't matter, as long as we put that badge on it the diehard fans fans will be happy...

Nope

They are playing a HYUUUUGE card by nixing the #1 selling van since the for 60-70 years running.
I respect your opinion, I just disagree. I don't know who these "hypothetical" businesses are that you speak of that buy millions of dollars worth of vans and tow 10,000lbs every day? For fun after reading your comment, I counted the number of E series vans I saw on my commute to work today. I live in a heavily populated suburban area and have a 12 mile drive. I saw 24 E series vans on my way to work and 5 GMC/Chevy Savanas. Want to know how many were towing?

Zero.

My experience is anecdotal, and I'm not suggesting there isn't a theoretical business somewhere out there somewhere that uses the van the way you suggest. Furthermore, I'm not saying that said business won't be unhappy. I just think you are way overestimating the number of commercial customers that tow with the E series. Payload and cubic feet are what most commercial Van customers are looking for.

No one will really know until a year from now...so until then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.;)
 

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I live in the burbs also, everyone towing around here is doing it with new full size pick ups, enclosed trailers,landscaping with many mowers, cars (hot rods). Cable/phone guys use vans, Tradesmen I see with the vans to keep their tool at hand but locked up. See alot of Econos, Fed ex people drive the Sprinters someTrades because of the high roofs. Everything in this markert is going to change for the better with alot more to chose from. I am a Ford guy and will be proud to drive a Transit, as others have said the eco has been long over due for a change,this is IT!
Bring it on

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VanMan
 

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I respect your opinion, I just disagree. I don't know who these "hypothetical" businesses are that you speak of that buy millions of dollars worth of vans and tow 10,000lbs every day? For fun after reading your comment, I counted the number of E series vans I saw on my commute to work today. I live in a heavily populated suburban area and have a 12 mile drive. I saw 24 E series vans on my way to work and 5 GMC/Chevy Savanas. Want to know how many were towing?

Zero.

My experience is anecdotal, and I'm not suggesting there isn't a theoretical business somewhere out there somewhere that uses the van the way you suggest. Furthermore, I'm not saying that said business won't be unhappy. I just think you are way overestimating the number of commercial customers that tow with the E series. Payload and cubic feet are what most commercial Van customers are looking for.

No one will really know until a year from now...so until then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.;)
Ehhhhhh, don't even know this is an "agree to disagree" situation. These are two different vehicles. Whether they need it or not, telling Econoline fans to get over it, and "if we put a E series badge on it would you be happy then?" is wrong. This isn't just an aesthetics change.... Could we badge a Fiesta as a Mustang and tell mustang fans to get over it? Both are cars, after all... If your favorite cake were chocolate, could I give you vanilla cupcakes and label it chocolate cake? Both are cakey, both serve similar purposes, both have the words chocolate and cake on them...

As for towing 10K... true, not a LOT do it... I never said they did. Half the things run around practically empty. But the Transit MAXES OUT at 7000 lbs with the dual rear wheel HD model... the rest are as low as 4500. If you tow, you might not need the full 10,000, but 4500? That's pathetic.That won't even tow a car... A little ranger tows 6K.

As for the million dollar figure... only takes 25 vans at $40K to hit 1 million... Even a small fleet of 10 vans, replacing them every 5 years... Some companies loyal to Ford for 20? 30? 40? 50 years? It adds up.

I suspect I'll be very happy with a Transit... Pretty evenly spec'd with my Sprinter.

And it's a good thing all I have to tow regularly is aircraft parts, because they're LIGHT!
 
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