This represents growth of about 10 percent compared with the prior-year period. The Sprinter therefore achieved its most successful first quarter in its history of over 20 years. The Sprinter posted especially strong growth in its core EU30 region (plus 12 percent), above all in the high-volume markets of Germany (plus 15 percent) and the United Kingdom (plus 10 percent). In both countries, unit sales of Sprinter vans increased faster than the overall market growth. Sprinter sales increased significantly also in other markets, including Latin America and Russia. With a total of approximately 3.3 million units delivered to date, the Sprinter is one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and one of the bestsellers in Daimler’s product portfolio.
The current generation has been on the market since 2006, and demand is continuously strong ten years after it was launched. Mercedes-Benz Vans has been working continually to increase the appeal of the Sprinter for its customers. As of mid-2017 an additional equipment package for the Sprinter will be available.
Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans: “With the Sprinter, we have had a first-class product on the market for over 20 years, a product which defines an entire segment. Never before have so many customers decided in favor of a Sprinter. It is primarily due to our van icon that Mercedes-Benz Vans has posted its most successful first quarter of all time – in terms of unit sales, revenue and EBIT.”
New records also for total unit sales, revenue and EBIT
Mercedes-Benz Vans also set a new record for unit sales across all its model series in the first quarter. Daimler’s van division sold a total of 86,800 vehicles (Q1 2016: 76,600, plus 13 percent). March was the most successful month of all time for the division, with 38,000 vehicles delivered to customers (Q1 2016: 32,700, plus 16 percent). First-quarter revenue grew by 6 percent compared with the previous year to approximately €3.0 billion (Q1 2016: €2.8 billion). Earnings (EBIT) increased by 19 percent to reach approximately €357 million, which is significantly higher than in the prior-year period (Q1 2016: €301 million). The division’s return on sales increased from 10.7 percent to 11.9 percent.
The Sprinter is popular with fleet customers and other large customers
Orders from fleet customers and other large customers were a key driver of strong demand for the Sprinter also in the first quarter of 2017. For example, Europe’s biggest car-rental company, Europcar, continued to favor the Sprinter. In March, Europcar received the first vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans from a major order for over 2,100 vehicles in the year 2017, including the Sprinter. The vans are to be rented by Europcar’s customers in Germany. The Bavarian Red Cross received twelve ambulances based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in February. This delivery is also part of a new procurement contract for the entire ambulance service in Bavaria, which extends to the year 2020 and comprises 480 Sprinter vehicles. Germany’s federal state of Bavaria uses solely the Sprinter as an ambulance – the clear market leader in this segment.
The future of the Sprinter: fully connected and electric
Mercedes-Benz Vans is currently setting the course for the future success of the Sprinter. The large van has always stood for great versatility, offering customers highly efficient and reliable transport solutions. With the next generation, Mercedes-Benz Vans would like to redefine this claim – driven by the strategic initiative for the division’s future – adVANce. In the future, the large van will be fully connected and also available as a battery-electric version. The logistics company Hermes will be the first customer for the Sprinter with electric drive. By the end of 2020, Hermes Germany plans to deploy 1,500 Mercedes-Benz electric vans of the Sprinter and Vito model series in urban areas all over Germany. The two companies will first launch a pilot phase of battery-electric vans in the logistic provider’s normal operations in Stuttgart and Hamburg in early 2018. Mercedes-Benz Vans will launch the next generation of the Sprinter before the end of this decade.
Preparations for production of the next generation
At present, Mercedes-Benz Vans is intensively preparing for the market launch of the next-generation Sprinter. Modification and modernization work is being done at the lead plant for worldwide Sprinter production in Düsseldorf, at the Sprinter plant in Ludwigsfelde in Brandenburg, Germany, and at the González Catán plant near Buenos Aires in Argentina. This year, Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest a total of about €260 million in the Sprinter-plants in Germany alone – mainly for the start of production of the next generation.