Daimler CV brand Mercedes-Benz is set to post several sales records this year: just like the passenger car brand, Mercedes-Benz Vans will set a new record for unit sales in 2016. From January to November this year, the business division delivered more vehicles to customers than in the whole of the record-breaking year 2015. To the end of November, Mercedes-Benz Vans increased its unit sales by around 13 percent against the same period of the previous year to around 324,000 vehicles. This means that one month before the end of the year, sales are already almost 3,000 units up compared with the whole of 2015. The strongest drivers of sales were the current models of the mid-size segment – the Vito van and the V-Class MPV – which, together with the Citan urban delivery van, have already recorded the most successful year in their history. Especially the growing share of privately used models also of the Vito Tourer and the Citan has had a positive impact on the unit sales figures. Sales of the large Sprinter van have continued at the record level of 2015. The final figures for the whole of 2016 will be announced at the annual press conference of Daimler AG on 2 February 2017.
Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans: “The fact that we have set a new full-year record already in November is a great achievement on the part of our global team. With our growth strategy ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ and a convincing product portfolio, we have clearly extended our leading position in the market this year. Alongside strong growth in the private segment, key contributions have been also made by a steadily growing number of volume and fleet orders from around the globe.”
“We are continuing to set the pace and, with the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, the first pick-up from a premium manufacturer, we aim to conquer new markets around the world starting in late 2017,” adds Mornhinweg. “With our strategic initiative ‘adVANce’, we will in future have an even broader presence in the marketplace and will evolve from a manufacturer of globally successful vans to a provider of integrated system solutions. We are taking pioneering new approaches to digitalisation, automation and robotics in vans and are also developing a range of innovative mobility offerings. With this, we aim to make the transport of goods and people even more efficient while offering our customers not only economic benefits, but also entirely new possibilities for their own business.”
Most successful year for the current mid-size models Vito and V-Class
The completely revised products in the mid-size segment are now available in a total of over 90 countries around the world. Since spring and autumn, respectively, of 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans has been marketing the latest V-Class and Vito models also in China, the world’s largest automobile market. “Made in China for China”, the vehicles are produced by the local Daimler joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co. Ltd (FBAC) in Fuzhou. Alongside the V-Class MPV, which is aimed mainly at the private market, and the mostly commercially used Vito van, the mid-size portfolio also includes the Marco Polo and Marco Polo ACTIVITY camper vans, which also record a high demand. From January to November 2016, the business division sold around 127,000 vehicles in the entire mid-size segment – some 21,800 units more than in the whole of the previous year and more than ever before. To the end of November, growth compared with the same period of the previous year came to 37 percent. This means that, in addition to the Sprinter, the mid-size segment has developed into a second main pillar of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global growth strategy.
With its attractive design and wide choice of variants, the new Vito sets standards in its segment. The extremely versatile vehicle is a practical mid-size van that combines spaciousness, high quality and great versatility. In the first eleven months of 2016, sales of the Vito were up by around 26 percent against the same period of the previous year to around 82,600 units, which is already a new full-year record.
The V-Class impresses with its unique concept, which combines the functionality of a classic van with the typical strengths of a Mercedes-Benz sedan. With the launch of the V-Class AMG Line in 2016, the MPV is now also available with distinctive design elements from the Mercedes-AMG performance and sports car brand. The V-Class EXCLUSIVE, which also came out this year, raises style, comfort and functionality to a yet higher level with its high degree of exclusive features. To the end of November 2016, sales of the V-Class were up by 64 percent on the previous year at approximately 44,300 units – another new record.
Sprinter sales continue at record level
In 2015, the Sprinter celebrated its 20th birthday and also by far the most successful year in its history so far. In the first eleven months of 2016, the Sprinter followed on seamlessly from the record-breaking previous year with around 174,800 units sold (+/-0%). In the whole of 2015, Mercedes-Benz Vans delivered around 194,200 units to customers.
The Sprinter established the eponymous large-van segment in 1995 and has dominated it ever since. It is available in over 130 countries and has now sold well over three million units. This makes the Sprinter one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and a best-seller in the Daimler product portfolio.The growing camper van market is also of increasing significance for the Sprinter. It is becoming ever more popular with customers as a panel van or as a chassis for suitable extensions and bodies.
Mercedes-Benz Vans manufactures the Sprinter at a total of six plants around the entire globe. As the only manufacturer in the large-van segment, Mercedes-Benz Vans will also produce the next generation in Germany at its plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde. In addition, the Sprinter is globally produced at our sites in the USA, China and Russia. To be able in future to supply the North American market with the next-generation Sprinter in an even more customised, rapid and efficient manner, the business division is currently adding a new production plant to the existing assembly site in North Charleston (South Carolina). Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing around half a billion US dollars in the new plant and will create a total of up to 1,300 jobs at the site. The division celebrated the ground breaking in the summer of 2016.
Increase in fleet and volume orders from around the world
In 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans recorded continuing global growth of its fleet business as well as a rising number of volume orders. In Germany for example, the Bavarian ambulance service, which uses only the Sprinter for its emergency response teams, took delivery in the spring of its 2,500th Sprinter-based ambulance in eight years. In 2016, the British supermarket chain ASDA added 550 new Sprinters to its fleet for use in online food retailing. The vehicles were equipped by specialist firms with insulated box bodies and refrigeration systems. In the Netherlands, Mercedes-Benz Vans won the contract to supply 400 vans from all segments – Sprinter, Vito and Citan – in the next four years for use by fire services across the entire country.
Numerous volume orders from outside the western European core market included an order for 360 Sprinters as ambulances for the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the delivery of over 160 Vito vans to the Chinese company Jiangsu Chang Yun for the transport of tourists (through the local joint venture FBAC) as well as the delivery of 120 Sprinter Classic buses to the Russian transport company Randtrans.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class launches in 2017
With the “Concept X-CLASS”, Mercedes-Benz Vans in October gave a highly specific preview of the world’s first premium pick-up, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. From its hallmark brand design and comfort to its driving dynamics and safety, it will be the Mercedes among pick-ups. Mercedes-Benz Vans will thus be the first premium manufacturer to cater for the changing needs of customers in the global growth segment of the mid-size pick-up. This makes the rugged one-tonne pick-up, which seats up to five people, the first to be attractive as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle. The X-Class fills one of the last gaps in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio. It will launch in late 2017, initially in Europe. Further core markets, such as Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Australia, will follow in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz Vans pushes on with the transformation of the van sector
Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled its strategic future initiative adVANce in 2016. The business division is thus systematically directing its focus at new, quickly changing customer needs and will invest around 500 million euros for this purpose in the period to 2020. Unveiled as part of the initiative, the “Vision Van” all-electric concept vehicle with fully automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones embodies the holistic approach behind adVANce. Mercedes-Benz Vans also announced the new start of production of an electrically powered van in 2018. In 2011, with the Vito E-Cell, Mercedes-Benz Vans became the first manufacturer to series-produce an electric van.
The business unit Mercedes-Benz Vans
Mercedes-Benz Vans is a global full-line supplier of vans and related services. The global product portfolio comprises – in the commercial segment – the large-size van Sprinter, the mid-size van Vito (“Metris” in the USA) as well as the Citan urban delivery van. In the private segment, Mercedes-Benz Vans is represented with the V-Class MPV and the Marco Polo and Marco Polo ACTIVITY travel vans. The division has a total of nine production locations: in Germany, Spain, the USA, Argentina, China (joint venture with Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd), France (strategic alliance with Renault-Nissan) and Russia (partnerships with GAZ and YaMZ). With its segment strategy “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global”, the division consequently taps new growth potentials.