Mercedes Seeks to Continue Sprinter Success | Sales & Marketing content from WardsAutoFARMINGTON 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).
Does anyone here agree?