A big stage for the world’s number-one van: today the Sprinter celebrated its 20-year anniversary at the Mercedes-Benz Düsseldorf plant. More than 250 guests including politicians, economists and the media plus employees from the six worldwide Sprinter production sites in Germany, Argentina, China, Russia and the USA attended the official celebration at the Düsseldorf plant.
The Sprinter has been impressing customers since 1995 and is now on the road in over 130 markets as the “world van” among commercial vehicles. Over 2.9 million Sprinter have been delivered to customers since its start of production.
Well-wishers at the official celebration included Hannelore Kraft, First Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
“With the Sprinter, we have created an iconic brand for vans. It established the large vans segment, gave it its name – and has shaped it ever since”, stated Dr Dieter Zetsche at the van’s anniversary celebration.
First Minister Hannelore Kraft likewise offered her congratulations for the twentieth anniversary: “The Sprinter not only has a 20-year success story behind it, but also outstanding future prospects – thanks to the decision to make the Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf a competence centre for global Sprinter production and the commitment made to back the highly qualified and reliable personnel here at the site over the long-term. I am delighted by both of these aspects and see them as a vote of confidence – in the site and the workforce.”
Volker Mornhinweg, responsible for the worldwide van business, spoke at the official celebration: “The Sprinter is one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and a bestseller in the Daimler product portfolio. We expect to break our sales record again in 2015, which would make it the best Sprinter year of all time. And we will continue to successfully further develop the Sprinter in the coming years.”
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter achieves record sales
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is one of the bestsellers in its segment. Mercedes-Benz Vans sold over 186 000 Sprinter models worldwide in 2014 – an increase of twelve percent on the previous year and a new record. The Sprinter is continuing this success story in the current year: in the first six months of 2015, the vans business unit at Daimler delivered 89 500 Sprinter models to customers worldwide; four percent more than in the same period last year. Continuing high customer demand in Europe and the USA above all has ensured excellent utilisation of capacity at the German plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde over the past months. To keep pace with this demand, the sites have introduced special shifts and Saturday working.
Volker Mornhinweg: “We continue to enjoy great momentum with our bestseller, and our full utilisation of capacity shows that our customers are thoroughly impressed with our Sprinter. Assisted by this tail wind, we will achieve record Sprinter sales once again in 2015.”
Reliable quality and consistent customer orientation as a recipe for success
When it launched the first Sprinter in 1995, Mercedes-Benz Vans had recognised the signs of the times and the needs of customers. High quality standards were established, both in development and in production. Revolutionary aspects right from the start included the dynamic design, well over 1000 basic variants, the efficient engines, exemplary safety equipment and the ergonomically perfect cockpit. This innovative concept, the outstanding product quality and satisfied customers ensured a successful start for the sophisticated van. Coupled with its high profile, the Sprinter thus gave its name to an entire vehicle category and is today synonymous with the segment for vans with a gross weight of up to five tonnes.
At the start of the nineties, the up-and-coming courier/express/parcel industry provided an added boost for sales of the new van generation as the Sprinter was able to cover the desired high annual mileages without any problems. In addition to reliable quality and cargo space, one further key aspect became a focal point of Sprinter development: driver-fitness safety. The interface between vehicle and driver was designed to be absolutely functional and boasted features that to date had only been available in passenger cars. The cockpit was systematically designed with the driver’s needs in mind and combined functionality and comfort in an all-new way.
Full capacity utilisation at Düsseldorf plant
The Düsseldorf plant plays a huge part in the success of the Sprinter. Over 65 percent of all Sprinter models are produced in the Rhineland. To keep pace with the high customer demand, the 6500 employees in Düsseldorf are currently working in special shifts and on Saturdays, producing over 725 vans per day.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been produced in Düsseldorf since 1995. Shortly after its launch, annual production broke the 100 000 van barrier for the first time in 1996, with record after record being broken ever since. Continuously further developed, the Düsseldorf plant started producing the second-generation Sprinter in 2006. And the new Sprinter has been rolling off the production lines since 2013. The economical and safe, functional and comfortable van is continuing the series of production records. Since Sprinter production began in Düsseldorf 20 years ago, some 2.4 million Sprinter models have left the factory in Düsseldorf.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Vans / Pictures: MBpassion.de