Mercedes-Benz Could Build Next Sprinter in U.S.

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Responding to the aggressive attacks both Ford and Ram Commercial have executed over the last two years, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will likely build its next-generation full-size van, the Sprinter, in the U.S. or Mexico.

The Sprinter used to be the only "euro-styled" full-size van on the market for several years, but it's now feeling the squeeze from growing Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster full-size van sales. The Sprinter sells about 2,000 units per month in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, but it is at a price disadvantage when compared to its new competitors because the Sprinter is built in two different plants in Germany, shipped overseas and then reassembled at a facility in South Carolina. Moving production to the U.S. would mean Mercedes could produce the van at a lower price and have access to a potentially wider fleet and small-business consumer base.

Both the rear-wheel drive Transit and front-wheel drive ProMaster offer several wheelbase and roof-height configurations as well as gasoline and diesel engine options; the RWD Sprinter does not. Both Ford and Ram Commercial spokespeople have identified this segment as a potentially fast-growing segment as the U.S. economy gains strength.

According to Automotive News, timing for such a significant production move is unclear, but is likely a result of a new direction Daimler wants to take once its partnership with VW changes after 2016. photo by Mark Williams


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Transit is RWD not FWD.

Hope they improve on the rusty issues the Ram versions have now. A lot I see on the Ram version now start show rusting only a few years old.

Impossible--especially to be built in the USA. Fiat can't even build engines in the USA. And the volume (2000/month) is way too low to possibly be profitable or we'd be awash in USA made midsizers like the Amarok, etc... .

This article shows that Mark Williams did not do his homework and therefore gets a F grade. I just checked the MBZ USA website and the Sprinter comes in two wheelbase lengths (144" & 170") and two roof heights. THe sprinter can also be ordered as a Panel Van, Crew Van with Windows and a Cab Chassis Van and comes with two TDI Engines, 2.1 Liter 4 Cylinder and 3.0 V6. Also, I believe MBZ will offer a 4WD version in the future, that is already on sale in Europe.

Yes they are low numbers, but I feel, they will assemble and manufacture parts in NAFTA, look at a Freightliner facility. No they do not offer a Gas option, mighty strange request for a European sourced Van. They did have a gas option for the earlier Sprinters in the US but dropped it.
VW is ending it's partnership with Mercedes this year and dropping "their" Sprinter Van the Crafter.
VW are getting MAN trucks to design a replacement. Somehow I think it will make it to the U.S. as.a VW Van

Fiat has no intention of building engines in the US, either in other parts of NAFTA or imported from elsewhere

The Transit is NOT front wheel drive.

"Both the front-wheel drive Transit and ProMaster offer several wheelbase and roof-height configurations as well as gasoline and diesel engine options; the rear-wheel drive Sprinter does not. " - Mark Williams

"This article shows that Mark Williams did not do his homework and therefore gets a F grade. I just checked the MBZ USA website and the Sprinter comes in two wheelbase lengths (144" & 170") and two roof heights....and comes with two TDI Engines" - Ed


Several is more than 2.

Sprinter has only 2 different roof heights in the Sprinter.
Sprinter has only 2 diesel options, no gas options.

Mark Willaims is correct.

Ford Transit in the US:
3 roof heights
3 engines...V6, diesel, and EcoBoost

"The Transit is NOT front wheel drive." - Home Skillet

@Home Skillet,

Drive Type
Front-Wheel Drive

You guys are bad and need to do your own homework before you call out PUTC.

@Paul, they are right. The Transit Connect is FWD (the link you put), as is the Transit Custom/Tourneo which is unavailable in the US. The full-size Transit (available globally) is RWD.

Alex, Thank you for the correction. I got onto the wrong page somehow. Sorry about that.

Love that vans and trucks are finally getting "modern" treatments in style, technology and features. The more non government funded competition the better.

Sprinter is available in 3 roof Heights again this year, 3 lengths, 2 diesel engines, 4x4 available for ordering next month, and can chassis and cutaway.

Vans are available as passenger, crew van, cargo van and minibus.

I'm only seeing 2 heights: standard roof and high roof. And only 2 engines, both diesel.

If PUTC would arrange a van shootout we could settle some of these disputes and learn a little more about them!

How about a cargo van shootout, PUTC and van manufacturers?

coming soon...

The 2015 Full-Size Cargo Van Shootout

The competitors:

Ford Tranist vs Mercedes Sprinter vs Nissan NV vs Ram ProMaster vs GMC Savana vs Chevy Express

Make it happen!


In Europe and maybe elsewhere (Rob and Big Al in Australia, check me on this), the Big Transit is front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive, but in the US and Canada, it is RWD only.

@Liam RWD in Australia and only a 2.2 litre Diesel. We get all the varieties of the Sprinter including the 4x4 version. As well we have just got the medium version of the Transit, no full size as yet. VW, has the Crafter version of the Sprinter
Renault just introduced its Master Van range, again only a small diesel
The Ducato sells well, but the IVECO Daily, is quite amazing in what it can do, never ceased to be amazed by it's capabilities
Now the newest and heaviest version the 70C has a payload capacity of 10,400lb for its Cab Chassis version. The best selling
medium Van is the Korean Hyundai ILoad

Toyota doesn't have enough air bags to replace in the recall instead they place a warning decal on the passenger side dashboard saying its unsafe to sit in the passenger seat.

yea, I know Toyota pickups are so wonderful

Who are they kidding? It's Mexico or nothing. BMW said the same thing when considering North America locations to build the 3-series. They 'settled' on Mexico.

@ Paul, So how many is several? When someone states that the something does not have several, how many is that??

By the way, the Ford Transit Van has two wheel base lengths, 130" and 148" with three body lengths, which is exactly the same count of options as the MBZ Sprinter Van. The Transit also has two Roof Heights, just like the MBZ Sprinter.

The Ram Promaster has two wheelbases 136" and 159" with three body lengths, and has two roof heights, which again is the same options as the MBZ Sprinter.

Based on these facts curtesy of the MBZ, Ford and RAM websites, I therefore stand by my earlier comment that Mr. Williams did not do his homework prior to writing this article.

@Paul, I'll correct myself.

The Ram Promaster has 3 wheel bases, 118", 136" and 139".


WTF are you blathering about? Dodge, or is it Ram or is it Fiat, or will it be Hyundai tomorrow, has WAY more years and pickup models impacted by this recall:

2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota

2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

It's good to see they will build these in the US.

The US must build them to an EU standard. The kits aren't even built to a EU standard.

I would also like to see cab chassis variants of these style vehicle sell in the US. It will give business a cheaper to operate alternative to HDs, especially if they aren't used to tow large loads.

@Big Al from Oz
A F350 would have problems with this going up a Mountainous terrain. In this case shot in Austria, going to Switzerland

In this case the 4 x 4 version towing a boat in South Africa

Another shot of the cab chassis towing a yacht through the Mountains of Switzerland

Ryan, what's the horsepower torque on that thing?

Ok, gonna call BS as usual on the anti American/pro australia crap. Looks like that daily is around 200 hp max. If an F350 would have problems(which I doubt, unless you mean actually going off road, which seems ridiculous pulling that boat) then that thing couldn't do it at all.

@Tom they do that all the time, you have it totally wrong. GVWR is 15,000lb., GCVWR, 23000lb

Here is a F250 pulling a Bayliner, about same size, but not through a Mountain range. Yes the F250 can pull it, but so do thos114e cab chasiss. Go to Europe and see these things do Quite amazing things

Here the basic mechanics have been turned into a Armoured Personnel Carrier

Lastly a Yacht. These do the work of a F250/350 in Europe, they also act as a MDT Truck

@Liam, the Transit Custom is FWD. It's not the same van though, just shares the "Transit" name

May be on to something here. recently, MB has had their midsize vans- The Vaneo/V-class out in the broad daylight of SE Michigan. They me looking to fill the gap between the new crop of full-size vans and the smaller offerings from RAM and Ford. That would fall in line with becoming more serious about the light commercial market in the US. Problem remains the support- here in Metro Detroit we have more RAM and Ford dealerships to service THEIR vehicles than I could count on fingers and toes- respectively. MB dealers? Five, and none of them are eager to cater to dirty work vans.

@Robert Ryan- pictures of some underpowered vehicle with a trailer behind it demonstrate.... nothing. And to call out the Ford Super Duty is just laughable- you could put that Daily, trailer and boat on a flatbed behind a DRW Cummins, Duramax or Powerstroke, and it would still go up a grade faster.

That is why when they are used to pull a 36-38ft 5ver, they use chemical supercharging in the way of LPG injected into the diesel, to keep up with a Superduty
The RAWR of the 70C is.greater than a F450
They have replaced F250's in many cases for 5th Wheeler towing

They use them here as an alternative to an F250/F350
Here is a video about the "alternative" options for towing a large 5th Wheeler. Notice the size of of the 5th wheeler. The ride,(with airbags)fuel consumption, turning circle are why people prefer them

I have ridden in a current Viano in the Italian Dolomites. Used as a shuttle, quiet and seemingly quick up the Mountains

It isn't just about horsepower alone. It's about capability. Here in Australia you generally buy a vehicle that you will use. As I've mentioned before off roading here is different than the US. We can be 1 000km away from the nearest service or store.

You school kids should look at what makes a truck. If you want something fast just buy a WRX or something else like that that suits your lifestyle.

The Iveco will go places a HD could only dream of and are gaining a reputation as an excellent and tough off roader. In all honesty they will make a HD look more like a CUV for off roading.

Up where I live I've seen a couple of the 4x4s done up as expeditionary off roaders with ballon tyres. They are the coolest looking 4x4s around. They almost look like Unimogs.

The latest Iveco vans do look okay. You Ram fans should love these as they are almost as one with the Rams.

I'd bet my balls the next Ram will have Iveco design and technology in them. They are FCA.

Here is one example of a 33ft Cardinal 5ver, 9.8 metric tonnes 21, 600lb being towed by an IVECO 65C. Good report on how it goes, fuel economy is extremel impressive

Mercedes introduced a Cab.Chassis version of the Sprinter with impressive tool box selection. Article on PUTC, FCA wants to do similar with its Cab Chassis variants of it Vans

@Robert Ryan,
I can see the downsizing of HD's engines, especially if the Titan and Tundra with the V8 Cummins come on and sell quite well.

The Cummins Tundra and Titan might leave Detroit a little bewildered.

A guy at work put LPG injection on his 3 litre Nissan Patrol diesel and he claims it gave him a 30% boost in power and torque.

So the Iveco with 203hp and 350ftlb of torque should be able to put out 260hp and 470ft lb of torque.

@RR- So now you're comparing one thing- that still pulls more- to another, with propane injection and a blower??? Because THAT'll be reliable. Give it a rest. Sure 13mpg isn't bad, but going flat and slow, a TD V8 will do that, too. There isn't a magic bullet to pulling that much trailer.

@Mr Knowitall
I would have reacted the same way as yourself, prior to seeing these things in action.
As that fellow noted that owns the. Cardinal , he has had it 8yrs, without a single problem.. Outside of beefing up the suspension to take some of problem of a collapsed suspension away.
As Big Al said LPG injection for these is quite common. Seeing that Australia is hot, you do not have a overheating issue(earlier models had a engine mapping problem that did)

Why didn't they put the 5.7 Hemi in the Ram Pro Master Van?
Cause its front wheel drive, transverse mounted engine and the 5.7 Hemi wouldn't fit in there sideways.

Responding to the aggressive attacks both Ford and Ram Commercial have executed over the last two years, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will likely build its next-generation full-size van, the Sprinter, in the U.S. or Mexico.

I'm guessing they will go wherever the cost of labour is lowest,,
which is probably Mexico..
I like that van,but the cost is way too high and from what I've heard on quality is low,,also getting these vehicles serviced is serious problem in many areas,as there's not dealers everywhere..

@Chevrolet build a better way to see the USA
I frequent RV.NET on the Class C forums, it is a battle between users about towing ability, diesel availability, handling , fuel economy, reliability , between the Sprinter v E350 nothing to with quality.
It would make it a lot cheaper if they did produce it in Mexico

@Big Al from OZ- Trust me- I'm well aware that to actually move a load, is not a function of HP. Your countryman Rob was the one spouting nonsense about using a Daily to easily pull loads that an F350 would struggle with. I don't care how you spin it- the Ford SD has more motor, more trans more cooling, more frame more spring and more axle. More truck. Yes, running unloaded the 3L diesel might have lower fuel consumption when running w/o a load, but once you're talking about moving large objects, those will disappear fast. Personally, my choice for moving 7ton trailers or bigger is a a proper MD truck- Freightliner M2 in America, any number of MD cabovers with a 4-5L 4cyl.

"Personally, my choice for moving 7ton trailers or bigger is a a proper MD truck- Freightliner M2 in America, any number of MD cabovers with a 4-5L 4cyl"

Totally agree on that. As regards the little IVECO, it has become the default and preferred choice to move 5vers from 28-32ft Long without LPG injection

The fuel economy it gets is not unloaded,that is part of of its virtues.
From Jayco , the Australian Company not owned or affiliated to US Co does buy parts from them to keep costs down.
The perfect towing package
For the ideal 5th Wheeler tow vehicle, try the IVECO Daily dual cab for providing you with secure and safe transport. It’s easy to drive, with a roomy interior featuring a multimedia radio with 6” touch screen, reversing camera, GPS, blue tooth and heated seating. In addition, the IVECO comes up with the best fuel economy figures and service intervals, providing the lowest running costs. Ask about this complete holiday package at your local Jayco dealer."

More from the fellow who owns the 33ftCardinal, why he prefers towing it with the IVECO Daily
"G’day Geoff,

As my signature says we have an Iveco 65C17 and have had a full time lifestyle with a 33 ft fifth wheeler for over 7 years. Therefore my comments below are only based on my experience, not the theory of how things should be.

Answering your questions as per you numbers:

1) what model do you have and how do you find it?.
2006 Iveco Daily 65C17 Dual Cab.
I have always found it exactly where I parked it. Sorry could not resist that, well it is the silly season. :lol:
I have owned this vehicle over 7 years. The longest I have previously owned any vehicle (in 46 years of driving) is just over 3 years. If I did not like the vehicle or it was not fit for purpose I would have sold it before now. Hope that, along with further comments below, answers the question.

2) do you find that you have sufficient power?.
Unlike the 7 plus litre GMC Silverado or Ford F series the Daily only has a 3 litre engine so the design engineers have had to find smart ways to produce the power required to pull up to 11 tonnes. This they have done very well but it does require more gear changing than if one had lots of ccs. However more ccs invariably means higher running costs.
After two years and 37,000km I had an LPG injection system installed to provide additional power. This does do what I expected. I can go up hills at least one gear higher than previously. There is a 7% improvement in economy but this is only a by-product as far as I am concerned.
Would I do this again, probably not, Why? Space lost due to LPG tank, additional maintenance required, limited access to LPG in inland Australia, initial cost. Does it really matter that it takes 5 mins more to get to the top of Cunningham’s Gap!"

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