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The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter made its debut 25 years ago and has evolved into a champion of its class. At the beginning of 1995, the brand sent 500 units of the completely newly constructed van from the Düsseldorf factory in Germany on a rally to the sales offices in a bid to mark its premiere.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pre-empted a revolutionary transformation of digitisation in the mid-1990s. No one had imagined this would be possible but Mercedes-Benz did and the Stuttgart brand introduced a completely newly developed, state-of-the-art van. With disc brakes on the front and rear wheels, ABS anti-lock braking system including ABD automatic brake differential, streamlined body, low consumption and many other properties, the Sprinter set standards in terms of safety, efficiency and comfort – qualities associated with successive Sprinter generations.
The van was able to position itself as truly multitalented with a variety of drivetrain and body styles powered by a range of diesel engines, as well as a four-cylinder petrol engine. The design variants included the chassis, the platform truck or tipper, each with a crew cab or single cab, the cargo van as well as the estate with five seats or nine seats, each with a flat or high roof. Wheelbases of 3,000, 3,350 and 4,025 millimetres were available. The permissible gross weights were initially 2,590, 2,800 or 3,500 kilograms.
Not only did it prove its abilities logistically, but also in many other areas inclduing on building sites and in trade, in municipal services and in passenger transportation as well as for fire and emergency services. This van also cut a good figure as a camper van and as the basis for countless special structures.
Thanks to continuous facelifts and updates, the first generation of the Sprinter remained up to date from 1995 until the end of production in Düsseldorf in 2006. The first facelift took place in 2000. On the exterior, it is recognised by the Mercedes star towering on the bonnet. In the interior, the van received a new instrument cluster and a gear lever integrated in the dashboard. Furthermore, the new diesel engines with common rail direct injection were used. The successor model made its debut in a revised variation in September 2002, equipped with an ESP Electronic Stability Program, and in November 2003 the one millionth Sprinter rolled off the production line in Düsseldorf.
Mercedes-Benz produced the first Sprinter generation not only in Düsseldorf, but also in Buenos Aires. Completely knocked down vehicles were produced out of parts kits in Ho Chi Minh City. Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles (MCV), a company originating from a Mercedes-Benz general distributor in Cairo, Egypt, also built it for several years. Then from 2013, the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ produced around 25,000 vehicles for the Russian market. The facelifted Sprinter also showed itself to be a global citizen in North America from 2001: there it was offered as the Freightliner Sprinter and Dodge Sprinter.
The second generation of Sprinter premiered in Stuttgart, Germany, at the start of 2006. The chassis and platform truck versions of the Sprinter were built in Ludwigsfelde. The Sprinter with all-wheel drive was introduced at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover in September 2006.
The third generation of Sprinter celebrated its debut in 2018. The vehicle was the first model series to embody the adVANce philosophy, introduced by Mercedes-Benz Vans in 2016, as a provider of holistic mobility solutions. The highlights of the new Sprinter include the option of comprehensive digital networking, the ergonomically optimised cab and countless safety innovations. The design follows the Mercedes-Benz design strategy, established in the passenger vehicles area.
In December 2019, Mercedes-Benz presented the eSprinter with battery-electric drive. The highly flexible vehicle concept is the brands next milestone on the way to the electrification of commercially used Mercedes-Benz vans. As Mercedes-Benz Vans expands its eDrive@VANs strategy, the eSprinter will be offered in selected overseas markets with 85 kW (116 hp) output to the front-wheel drive and 47 kWh or 35 kWh utilisable battery capacity. Depending on the configuration there are different payloads, ranges and top speeds.
The latest generation of the Sprinter elevates the benchmark for the large van segment, offering a diverse range of products that serve specific market needs more effectively than ever before. Modern safety and assistance systems are available as well as an advanced air conditioning system ideal for the MENA region. When the going gets tough, the Sprinter gets going.
The Sprinter 4x4 is available for the first time in the region providing extra traction that is crucial under demanding conditions. More than 1,700 different versions can be put together. This defines the core of the new Sprinter concept, reflecting both sector-specific requirements and different customer segments.
For more information, visit Mercedes-Benz Vans regional web site at https://www.mercedes-benz-mena.com/vans/en.