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Dodge Sprinter Cargo, Dodge Sprinter, Van
#9 of 1281 Sprinter update. This is a long one!
Dec 10, 2001 (9:17 pm)
Here's a lot of info I found on another site. Of particular interest - base prices start at 26,300.
Daimler hopes to go from just reassembling Sprinters in the US to manufacturing them here. Also, plans are to eventually make the american "Vito" in the US. Looks like along wait for that Vito that I like so much and by that time it will be the next generation model.
By Diana T. Kurylko
Automotive News / December 10, 2001
Ninety Dodge dealers next year will sell a full-sized Sprinter van built by
Mercedes-Benz and badged as a Freightliner.
DaimlerChrysler will begin looking for a North American plant to build
commercial and passenger versions.
Offering pricey Mercedes-built vehicles to Dodge dealers could undermine the
vaunted Mercedes brand identity. But it's the quickest way for the company to
expand sales of Mercedes full-sized commercial vans in the vast U.S. market.
"Dodge dealers are used to selling the Ram van on price. There will be no deal
of the month with Sprinter," said Tim Reuss, CEO of DaimlerChrysler Vans LLC,
the South Carolina sales and marketing company set up in June. "We will have to
teach them how to sell Sprinter on its attributes and quality."
DaimlerChrysler said that the Sprinter, with a base sticker of $26,300, costs
about 10 percent more than the competition. That's similar to the premium
pricing of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
In addition to a cargo version used for such things as delivery vehicles and
service trucks, a model with bare-bones passenger seating will be offered for
uses such as airport vans.
The van strategy is complex:
a.. Within four years, both the Freightliner Sprinter and the Mercedes-Benz
Vito, the luxurious passenger van sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers worldwide, will
be built in North America, possibly in a new factory. Chrysler has excess
capacity, but it may be more efficient to build from scratch than refurbish an
aging Chrysler group factory.
b.. The Vito will come to some Freightliner and Dodge dealers in the 2004
model year after a major redesign. The Vito is built on the same platform as
the Sprinter, but has a more aesthetic shape and has the luxurious trim and
upscale equipment of a traditional Mercedes-Benz car.
c.. The vehicles will wear "Powered by Mercedes-Benz" badges and have a
high-technology diesel engine used in Mercedes cars in sold in Europe. Thus,
shoppers can buy advanced Mercedes diesel engines at Dodge dealerships.
Dodge needs big vans
The Sprinter and Vito will fill a product gap in the Dodge range. The aging
full-sized 3500 Ram Van range, priced at $21,045 for the Maxi-van version, is
being phased out at the end of 2002 because of declining sales.
The segment is led by Ford Motor Co., whose Econoline and Club Wagon had 45.5
percent share of the market in the first 11 months of 2001.
But DaimlerChrysler is counting on Sprinter product attributes, such as
Mercedes-Benz engineering and safety, an independent front suspension, a
five-speed electronically controlled transmission and a five-cylinder 2.7-liter
common rail diesel engine. The same engine is offered on the Mercedes-Benz C-
and E-class cars and the M-class sport-utility in Europe, with better
fuel-economy than the competition's gasoline engines.
The Sprinter will be offered in three different wheelbases and two heights.
Search starts in January
In January, Mercedes-Benz will begin searching for a site to build both the
Sprinter and Vito beginning in 2006 with an annual capacity of up to 120,000
units. Consideration is being given to using the Chrysler group's Windsor,
Ontario, factory, which assembles the full-sized Dodge Ram Van, said Rolf
Bartke, senior vice president of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the unit in charge of
manufacturing and marketing both vehicles.
"We will probably build a greenfield plant in the U.S. because both Mexico and
Canada require a local content of 62 percent in vehicles built in their
countries. We aren't likely to approach that number for our vans," Bartke said.
Bartke recently met with Chrysler executives at the Windsor plant to discuss
A new U.S. factory would require an investment of $1 billion - $700 million for
the factory and $300 million for engineering and other costs, said Bartke.
About 4,000, new jobs would be created.
Bartke said the site selection process hasn't begun.
The Sprinter is currently built in Germany and reassembled from kits in
Gaffney, S.C. The Gaffney plant can't assemble more than 20,000 units annually,
M-B has high U.S. hopes
The vehicles, which are sold everywhere else in the world as Mercedes-Benz
models, debuted for sale this year in the United States with the Freightliner
badge. The first sales were to FedEx Corp., which asked DaimlerChrysler to
export to the United States. FedEx bought 1,900 Sprinters.
The decision to rebadge the vans as Freightliners - the commercial vehicle unit
that makes and sells heavy-duty trucks in the United States - came after
extensive research in which potential customers said they didn't want their
business vehicles wearing the Mercedes-Benz name, said Reuss.
"Florists and cargo carriers said if their customers saw them driving
Mercedes-Benz vehicles, they'd wonder if they were paying too much for their
services," Reuss said. "Mercedes-Benz is regarded as more of a luxury brand in
the U.S. than it is in Europe, where taxis and even big trucks have the name."
Freightliner's dealer network is also being used to sell the Sprinter. By the
end of 200
#10 of 1281 DaimlerChrysler Finds a Niche in the Van Market
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jan 09, 2002 (8:32 am)
"The clear performance advantages lay in the handling. The Sprinter didn't feel ungainly, despite its size and hauling capability...."
First Drive: 2002 Freightliner Sprinter
SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
#11 of 1281 Camper Van?
Jan 14, 2002 (6:11 am)
I saw the Sprinter last spring in Italy and I thought it might make a great platform for a modern version of the VW Camper Van. I then saw a FedEx Sprinter this summer and it renewed my interest. Finally, I saw that they are bringing it here as a Freightliner and I know the cargo version would be perfect as a platform for a pop up camper. I know VW still makes the pop up but it is too "pretty" now that Winnebago took over for Westfalia and too expensive. Am I off or does anyone see this too?
#12 of 1281 Camper Van
Jan 15, 2002 (9:57 am)
I think there is a lot of people looking at the Freightliner Sprinter for camper van conversion. I believe DaimlerChrysler now owns part of Westfalia so it seems logical that a Westfalia version of the Sprinter might come over sometime in the future. I heard that the folks at Sportsmobile should have a Sprinter this month and will then start "engineering review" for a conversion (Sportsmobile did VW bus conversions back in the '60's). I'm waiting to see a Sprinter passenger van for carrying two wheelchair bound passengers. I drove a Sprinter cargo van a few weeks ago and was very impressed. While it felt much bigger than my '90 Vanagon, it seemed more "drivable" than a Ford E350 (the other van I'm considering.
#13 of 1281 Sprinter
Feb 06, 2002 (12:04 pm)
I live in Salt Lake City and I have noticed several Sprinters here that are being used as shuttles to and from the various hotels, venues, events, etc. Things haven't even hit full stride yet but I am starting to see a lot of public transportation vehicles cropping up all over the place.
I don't think I could ever own a Sprinter though . . . it would never fit in my carport!
#14 of 1281 There are low top versions of the Sprinter
Feb 06, 2002 (3:19 pm)
So far only the hiboys have been sold in USA. I assume most personal users would want the regular roof...
#15 of 1281 For that matter
Feb 06, 2002 (3:21 pm)
I would personally wait for one that said "Dodge." Just cannot imagine driving anything badged "Freightliner" even if I knew it was a Mercedes.
#16 of 1281 Mrnimmo
Feb 07, 2002 (8:38 am)
You may be waiting quite a while for your "Dodge" badged Sprinter van. The Sprinters are imported by DCVans, a wholly owned subsidiary of DCAG in Germany. They have no connection whatsoever with the DaimlerChrysler operations in Auburn Hills. Not likely they will bear the "Dodge" name any time soon.
#17 of 1281 yzf - Dodge
Feb 07, 2002 (9:08 am)
...ummmm - click the First Drive story under helpful links over on the left. It says that Dodge will be selling the Sprinter as a replacement for the Dodge Ram Van.
#18 of 1281 I have seen one as well
Feb 07, 2002 (10:18 am)
I live in Salt Lake as well, an I have seen a couple on the road. I realize that minivans are for utility over aesthetics, however, the Sprinter has to be the ugliest box on wheels I have ever seen. The body is a perfect rectangle with a sloped front. This van is clearly designed for use as a cargo van, that can be configured for use as a shuttle.
I could never imagine owning one for a daily driver. Unless you drive school buses during the day, the sprinter would have to feel like a school bus to drive.