DUISBURG, GERMANY. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the third generation of its flagship Sprinter van today at the company's new logistics center in the Port of Duisburg. This third-generation Sprinter will be available in the U.S. market by the end of the year arriving as a 2019 model, and for those who opt for it, the van can come ready with the tools to manage a fleet.
Compared with the outgoing model, the new Sprinter will add a gasoline engine option in the U.S. market to the diesel choices. An electric version called the eSprinter will enter the global market in 2019, with availability in the U.S. to be announced. Mercedes-Benz Vans representatives noted that's part of the company's strategy for electrification of the commercial van fleet.
"The Sprinter continues to embody the traditional attributes that have made it so successful worldwide since its market launch: flexibility, robustness and economy," said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. But this van will feature "a new dimension" in connectivity and variability, according to the company.
"This makes it the first end-to-end system solution for commercial fleets, both for Mercedes-Benz Vans and for the entire industry," Mornhinweg added.
Mercedes PRO connect fleet management
Though engineered for commercial strength and durability, the new Sprinter will incorporate comfort and safety features "at a passenger car level." Connectivity is one of the most important new features, Mercedes-Benz representatives said, and the company is also targeting more cost-effectiveness and lower total operating costs with new networked services called Mercedes PRO connect and multimedia systems that provide the basis for logistical and transportation management.
And that's management of a large vehicle fleet down to a small company fleet, the company claimed. Mercedes PRO connect links the fleet manager with the vehicles and drivers, allowing assignments to be managed online and providing access to vehicle information such as location, fuel level or maintenance intervals "almost in real time."
Several packages available from the factory with central fleet, vehicle, driver and location-based services will be introduced upon the market launch of Mercedes PRO connect. The services are designed to deliver efficient fleet management, improved navigation, remote vehicle operations and analysis of driving style.
Mercedes-Benz Vans said the new Sprinter is more versatile, with more than 1,700 different configurations to be available worldwide allowing for "maximized modularity." For instance, the van can be spec'd for courier services and last-mile delivery, goods transport over longer distances, mobile service technician businesses, passenger transport or ambulance/rescue services. On the consumer side — and increasingly popular in the U.S. market — the van can also be upfit as a camper/RV.
Advanced safety and assistance systems available for the new Sprinter will include a display in the rearview mirror from a self-cleaning rear-view camera, a 360-degree view parking camera system, and a rain sensor system designed to provide optimum visibility even during the wiping process.