FORT MYERS, FLA. — DaimlerChrysler Vans announced Dec. 4 in a press conference here that it is starting to distribute a full-size commercial van in the United States. The Class 2 and 3 light commercial vehicle named Sprinter has been marketed in Europe and elsewhere since the mid-1990s.
"Sprinter will carry the Freightliner brand in the United States; it is designed and powered by Mercedes," said Rolf Bartke, senior vice president of DaimlerChrysler and responsible for the Mercedes-Benz Vans unit.
Sprinter carries the Mercedes brand in Europe and elsewhere. It has the Freightliner nameplate in the United States because Mercedes is considered a luxury brand here, Bartke said. He noted that customers of some companies might start to wonder if a van pulls up at their home for a service call with a Mercedes nameplate on it.
"Our customers wanted a Freightliner," Bartke said.
Starting price for Sprinter is $26,300 and ranges up to $37,000. Customers can choose from three wheelbases and two roof heights.
The walk-in vans can be ordered with shelving and bins suitable for a mechanical contracting business, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman told CONTRACTOR. Or the panel van can be purchased empty and upfitted later.
Mercedes-Benz designed Sprinter’s engine for low fuel consumption, Bartke said. The diesel-fueled vehicle can achieve mileage of 22 mpg. Also, owners have to worry about changing the oil only every 10,000 miles.
The Sprinter is manufactured in Dusseldorf, Germany, with final assembly taking place in Gaffney, S.C. DaimlerChrysler Vans was founded just six months ago and is based in Huntersville, N.C., near Charlotte.