20 Years of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
On 23 January 1995 the first 500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans left the plant in Düsseldorf. It was the beginning of a success story that remains difficult to beat, especially bolstered with more than 25 000 Sprinters sold to South African customers since the year 2000.
One should always be cautious in using superlatives. Nevertheless, the success story that began on that momentous day is one that would tempt even the most down-to-earth of us to wax lyrical. Indeed, this is the day that can confidently be described as marking the dawn of a new era for the van sector.
The large van caused quite a sensation at the time: among one of its highlights, it was the first van to be fitted as standard with disc brakes on both front and rear wheels, as well as with the ABS anti-lock braking system. The international motoring media were so impressed they voted the Sprinter the “Van of the Year 1995”.
“Only the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter can offer unmatched reliability, perfect driving features and an innate ability to reinvent itself over such a long period of time. This is a vehicle that prides itself on being everything to everyone who purchases it: exceptional safety, impressively low fuel consumption, reliability and a widely-respected high resale value. These are just some of the key factors that contribute to the Sprinter being the most dominant player in the segment,” says Nicolette Lambrechts, Vice-President: Mercedes-Benz Vans.
“What is even more exciting than celebrating such a significant milestone is the fact that the Sprinter not only has two decades of experience to tap into, but also the idea of the current and future Sprinter exemplifying impeccable workmanship, build quality of the highest standard and endless innovation,” added Lambrechts.
The year 2013 saw the arrival of the latest Sprinter in the market – a vehicle with which Mercedes-Benz Vans is once again setting new standards in terms of safety and economy. In November 2014, just a year after its introduction worldwide, the 222,222nd new Sprinter was delivered into customer hands.
Although its appearance has changed over the years, the secret of the Sprinter family’s success has stayed the same. The new Sprinter impresses with innovations in the fields of safety and economy.
It is the first van in its class to be made available with engines that meet the Euro VI emissions standard, proving that even the big boys on the road can be environmentally friendly and economical. Despite the engines on offer in South Africa adhering to Euro V emissions standards – due to the unavailability of appropriate fuel – the Sprinter still boasts operating the cleanest engine in the large van segment.
But it is not just thanks to its frugal fuel consumption that the new van is top of the class in the large vans segment, which the vehicle’s distant ancestor once defined as the “Sprinter class”. It also sets standards with respect to safety, loaded with various assistance systems such as Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.