Mercedes-Benz Vans USA will add dealers and models as it bids to hike sales in the next few years, says Bernie Glaser, Mercedes-Benz USA vice president and managing director of the van unit. Glaser remarked that the Sprinter is the ideal vehicle to take advantage of the growing popularity of European-style vans in the United States -- taller and lighter and more fuel efficient than the vans they're replacing.
"The Sprinter is the benchmark and the norm of the Euro-style vans," remarked Glaser. "There is a revolution happening in the segment and big changes coming that were caused by the Sprinter -- vans with a smaller footprint but big cargo volume." Carmakers like Ford, Nissan and Chrysler, have or are preparing new van entries.
According to Glaser, the Sprinter generates nearly $1 billion in revenues in the US. Mercedes is planning to accelerate US growth by introducing a new four-cylinder turbodiesel engine from the E-class sedan paired with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Likewise, Mercedes will feature standard electronic stability control, plus options from cars like collision prevention, blind-spot assistance and a crosswind stabilization feature.
Mercedes also plans to further growth by unveiling an all-wheel-drive variant of the Sprinter commercial van at a truck show in Indianapolis. It will become available in the spring of 2015. The German carmaker will also add 30 Sprinter dealerships in the US over the next five years, boosting the current 188. Likewise, 57 dealerships for Freightliner sell the Sprinter. Mercedes is also mulling selling a small 12-passenger van in the US. [source: TheTruthAboutCars]