The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was unveiled to over 1000 attendees at the Ladson Plant opening in Charleston, South Carolina on September 5th. Michael Balke, President Mercedes-Benz Vans and Volker Mornhinweg, Executive Vice President and Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans welcomed guests and spoke to the company’s commitment to its people, customers and its new partnership with South Carolina.
"In the logistics and transport world of the future, variability and the availability of customer-specific solutions are the essential success factor. Just offering customers a good vehicle is no longer enough. As an all-rounder, the new Sprinter must be more than just the sum of its parts. With an unprecedented number of variants, and a new telematics generation, it is a
tailor-made end-to-end system meeting an enormous range of commercial transport and mobility requirements. This means that the new Sprinter achieves precisely what its preceding generations demonstrated before it: once again, it redefines the van segment.” Said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The opening of the Ladson Plant has generated over 900 jobs for the people of Charleston, making Charleston the greatest job growth state in the U.S. By 2020, it is projected to have a team of 1,300 employees at the Plant.
In attendance was Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina who thanked Mercedes-Benz for their investment in the state of South Carolina and ensured the company of the states commitment to their success.
Michael Balke, also welcomed Dave Clarke, Senior Vice President Worldwide Operations for Amazon. Amazon is the first of Mercedes-Benz customer’s to receive a fleet of 2019 Sprinter Vans for the delivery of Amazon products across the U.S. The first van was presented on stage and Dave Clarke explained that the van will be delivering packages to Children Hospitals across the states to fight cancer.
Clarke also talked about Amazon’s new Delivery Service Partners program. It is designed to let entrepreneurs run their own local delivery fleets of up to 40 vans for Amazon deliveries. Amazon has ordered 20,000 2019 Sprinters, that Element Fleet Management will offer to businesses with commercial leases.
Journalists had the opportunity to tour the Ladson Plants facilities to learn more about the advanced technologies and dedicated people responsible for building the 2019 Sprinter. The plant has zero waste to landfill and is estimated to manufacture 40,000 vans annually. The plant has 182 robots on staff with employees overseeing operations.
CAF spoke to Iain Forsyth, National Manager, Mercedes-Benz Vans about the 2019 Sprinter’s arrival in the Canadian market and what fleet owners, operators and managers should know about the new Sprinter. “Here in Canada, Mercedes-Benz Vans is fortunate to have an engaged base of fleet customers who are deeply invested in our products. When developing our 2019 offerings, we listened closely to their needs and were able to actively incorporate their feedback. The new Sprinter is packed full of new safety features, advanced technologies and driver-assistance systems. With an efficient diesel engine, a new gas powertrain, an impressive suite of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) connectivity features, and available in an unprecedented number of variations, the model year 2019 Sprinter will once again prove to be the most valuable workhorse for any Canadian fleet.“
Iain Forsyth, National Manager, Mercedes-Benz Vans
For more on the 2019 Sprinter and its offerings check out first drives at https://www.fleetbusiness.com/first-drives/first-drives-2018/2019-sprinter-redefines-van-segment