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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 4x4 model that recently debuted in Europe has been announced for sale in the U.S. market starting in calendar 2015.