Mercedes-Benz Adding Dealers, Models to Van Line in U.S.

It’s been said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a lot of fans, even among other automakers. Since its introduction to the U.S. market in the early 2000s, the Sprinter now faces several similarly-configured competitors in the form of the Ram ProMaster, the Nissan NV full-size vans, and the forthcoming Ford Transit.

But Mercedes isn’t taking its success for granted, or resting on its laurels. In an interview with Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz USA vice president Bernie Glaser, who is in charge of the company’s van unit, said that the Sprinter sub-brand is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing popularity of European-style tall vans.

Mercedes-Benz recently introduced an updated V-Class rear-wheel-drive van in Europe, which is slightly smaller and lower than the Sprinter, more oriented toward passenger duty than cargo hauling. A van smaller than the Sprinter, believed to be based on the V-Class is reportedly under consideration for the U.S. market. The Sprinter currently generates $1 billion in revenue for Mercedes’ U.S. operations, and MBUSA is planning on adding 30 more dealerships that carry the Sprinter from the current total of 188. The 4×4 model that recently debuted in Europe has been announced for sale in the U.S. market starting in calendar 2015.

Source: Automotive News