The roll out of the first European-designed commercial van to reach these shores-the Freightliner Sprinter-is continuing apace, according to the executive charged with selling and supporting the Class 2-3 trucks in the U.S.
“We now have 53 commercial dealers signed up to sell Sprinter and another six to eight in the works,” Tim Reuss, president & CEO of DaimlerChrysler Vans LLC, recently told Fleet Owner. “We are also beginning the integration into our dealer network of successful Dodge truck dealers where we have no commercial-vehicle coverage, especially in urban areas.” Reuss has previously stated that he expects to have from 140 to 160 dealers in place by year's end.
Both the cargo and passenger versions are offered in two GVWRs (8,550 or 9,990 lb.), three wheelbases (118, 140 or 158 in.), and with a standard or high roof height. “Sprinters spec'd with the medium wheelbase and the high roof have generated the most interest so far,” Reuss noted.”
Reuss said Sprinter pricing begins at $26,300 for a basic cargo model and, depending on how equipped, can range up to around $36,000 for a “fully loaded” passenger model.
A cab/chassis version of the Sprinter for applications that prefer the box closed off from the cab area is due here by mid-year.
He said DaimlerChrysler Vans is also setting up a program of “preferred body builders by segment” that would make it easier to have the vans outfitted for various vocational tasks.
DaimlerChrysler Vans LLC will market additional products down the road, according to Reuss, possibly including a model for Class 4-5 applications.
He said plans call for marketing the “successor” of the Mercedes-Benz Vito van, which will be an '05 model,” here. The Vito is roughly the size of a “regular” U.S. van.
Reuss also noted that the '06 model year will usher in the next generation of the Sprinter.