Leap in de­sign, fleet ef­fi­ciency

FU­TURE MOD­ELS/ Mercedes-Benz has re­vealed de­tails about its forth­com­ing new Sprinter

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Fol­low­ing our first en­counter of the Fu­ture Van dur­ing the Mercedes-Benz Van Cam­pus work­shop in Stuttgart, Ger­many, around this time in 2016, we were con­vinced that it was the con­cept ver­sion of the fu­ture Sprinter.

This week in­for­ma­tion from the com­pany seemed to con­firm our sus­pi­cions fur­ther when the com­pany re­leased a de­sign sketch of the forth­com­ing model. Billed to be one of the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced vans yet be­fore it fi­nally ar­rives on the Euro­pean mar­ket in the first half of 2018 (SA will get it in the first quar­ter of 2019), much ex­pec­ta­tion hangs over the new model.


The de­sign sketch of the model fur­ther in­di­cates that one of the most ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated mod­els in the van sec­tor will also set new stan­dards in terms of ap­pear­ance. With its new look, the Sprinter is said to again shift the bound­aries of its seg­ment. The ve­hi­cle presents it­self con­sis­tently in the de­sign lan­guage of Mercedes-Benz and em­bod­ies the op­po­sites of this phi­los­o­phy: emo­tion and in­tel­li­gence.

Some of its new fea­tures will in­clude the com­pre­hen­sive in­tro­duc­tion of driv­ing as­sis­tance sys­tems and con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vices in com­bi­na­tion with new telem­at­ics, which the com­pany says will bring a leap for­ward in ef­fi­ciency for ve­hi­cle and fleet man­age­ment. The new model can also be more pre­cisely adapted to in­di­vid­ual trans­port and sec­tor re­quire­ments thanks to a con­sid­er­ably ex­tended range of vari­ants. With this com­bi­na­tion, the new Sprinter is said to have a unique propo­si­tion as an over­all sys­tem so­lu­tion in the van mar­ket

“We want to do more than just build the best ve­hi­cles,” says Volker Morn­hin­weg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We want to of­fer the most suit­able mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion for ev­ery sec­tor and for ev­ery trans­port as­sign­ment. And that is pre­cisely our fo­cus with the up­com­ing Sprinter gen­er­a­tion as an over­all sys­tem so­lu­tion. The new edi­tion of our iconic van pos­sesses the clas­si­cal at­tributes of re­li­a­bil­ity, safety and cost-ef­fec­tive­ness.”

Morn­hin­weg says the US is one of the world’s fastest-grow­ing van mar­kets. After Ger­many, it is the sec­ond-largest in­di­vid­ual sales mar­ket for the large van. With the new Sprinter plant in North Charleston, un­der construction, the busi­ness unit will in fu­ture be able to meet the de­mand from North Amer­i­can cus­tomers even more eco­nom­i­cally with ve­hi­cles “made in the US”, and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce de­liv­ery times in that mar­ket.

The Sprinter vans for the US mar­ket have so far been pro­duced in Ger­many. How­ever, be­cause of high im­port tar­iffs, they have been par­tially dis­man­tled in a time-con­sum­ing process and re­assem­bled at the North Charleston plant.

For the com­pany, the in­tro­duc­tion of the new Sprinter is more than the pre­sen­ta­tion of a new model.

The Sprinter fully re­flects the fu­ture ini­tia­tive Ad­vance, which was pre­sented in Stuttgart in 2016 and where Mo­tor News was in at­ten­dance.


It aims at megatrends such as dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and ur­ban­i­sa­tion. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing re­align­ment of the com­pany is driv­ing the trans­for­ma­tion from purely a ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer to a provider of com­plex, com­pre­hen­sive mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions. The first new model to rep­re­sent this fur­ther de­vel­op­ment is the new Sprinter, says the com­pany.

While the sketches ap­pear even closer to the Fu­ture Van con­cept, more in­for­ma­tion about the model will be pro­vided in the near fu­ture. We ex­pect the model to be slightly toned down from the con­cept.

How­ever, the big­gest news is how the model’s new tech­nol­ogy will bring fur­ther ef­fi­cien­cies to the seg­ment.

While Mercedes has only re­leased a sketch of the new Sprinter, we know it will go on sale in SA in 2019.

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