by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Start of series production for the best-in-class van: The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter rolls off the assembly line

After over eight million kilometers of test drives, and an investment of €25 million in the two German van plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, the first new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has now rolled off the assembly line in Düsseldorf. As a result, Mercedes-Benz Vans is writing a new chapter in the Sprinter success story and once again setting benchmarks for the van sector. The new Sprinter features five new safety and assistance systems, including three van premieres. It is the first van to have engines that meet the future Euro VI emissions standard, and its incredible fuel consumption values (as low as 6.3 liters per 100 km) make it by far the best vehicle in its class when it comes to fuel efficiency. In the large vans segment, the Sprinter also impresses with its striking appearance.

For all of these reasons, a festive ceremony was held to mark the launch of series production at the Düsseldorf plant. At the celebration, the first new Sprinter was unveiled to numerous employees by Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans; Dr. Sascha Paasche, Head of Engineering at Mercedes-Benz Vans; Rainer Ruess, Head of Production at Mercedes-Benz Vans; and Martin Kelterer, Director of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf.

At the start of series production, Volker Mornhinweg said, “The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has once again enabled us to set the bar higher for the van sector. The new Sprinter’s safety, efficiency, and quality are unmatched by any other van, and the vehicle remains a pioneer in the large van segment. The new Sprinter is the global vehicle in the commercial vehicle sector. The start of series production has really gotten the ball rolling, and I’m delighted to work together with all of you to continue the Sprinter success story.”

At the ceremony, Plant Director Martin Kelterer added, “Today is a very special day for our Düsseldorf van plant. We are of course extremely happy about the new Sprinter. All of the employees at the plant worked extremely hard to make this day happen and to prepare themselves for the new production processes. This shows that we have a highly motivated and qualified team whose members are extremely committed to their work. Thank you very much for your dedication. I wish all of us great success with the new Sprinter!”

Impressive from the very start — the history of the Sprinter

Ever since the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter made its debut in 1995, the van has made a name for itself all over the world. The vehicle has always been a pioneer when it comes to assistance and safety systems. In 1995 Mercedes-Benz became the first brand to install the anti-lock braking system (ABS) into a van by introducing it into the Sprinter. Another van first, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), followed in 2002. Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved another pioneering feat in 2006 when it developed ESP into ADAPTIVE ESP. All of these developments have made the Sprinter a top seller. Over the past 18 years, the vehicle has posted total sales of about 2.5 million units and helped customers perform a wide variety of tasks. The Sprinter is a truly global vehicle and a key pillar of the “Vans goes global” growth strategy of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which is in the segment for vehicles with around 3.5 tons GVW, straddles the line between cars and trucks, as defined by German traffic law at the time the van was introduced. This innovative vehicle concept is not only meeting with a great response in Germany but is also rapidly conquering markets abroad. Today the pioneering van is being sold in thousands of variants in around 130 countries.

The Sprinter’s status as a global vehicle is also reflected in its production locations. In addition to rolling off the line in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, the van is produced in Charleston, South Carolina; González Catan, Argentina; and Fuzhou, China. Preparations are also under way to produce the Sprinter Classic at the plant operated by the Russian manufacturer GAZ in Nizhny Novgorod so that Mercedes vans can penetrate Russia’s dynamic mass market. That makes the Sprinter one of the key pillars of the “Vans goes global” growth strategy of Mercedes-Benz Vans. The strategy is systematically globalizing the division’s business and exploiting additional earnings potential in new growth markets.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf

The Düsseldorf facility is the leading plant for Daimler vans. The plant’s approximately 6,600 employees produce around 150,000 vans per year, including all of the closed-top variants (panel vans and crewbuses) of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The plant covers almost 700,000 m² and manufactures nearly 700 vans per working day in three shifts. In 2012 Daimler invested almost €36 million in the plant. More than one third of this amount was spent on a new combined heat and power facility that enables the plant to reduce its primary energy consumption by around 20 percent.

Credits: Daimler AG

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