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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If you are not comfortable with franchised dealers or don't have the time to shop and compare several brands, my service is tailored for you! I help busy people buy new cars by offering expert advice and access to a network of top dealers for all brands. It's like having a friendly salesman for every brand in one person.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Is the Mercedes Sprinter for you? We have two 2012 vans left at unbelievable savings!

So, why get a Sprinter? Well, it’s a logical question, but the only easy answer to it is: the Sprinter is not for everybody. Is it as efficient as Mercedes claims it to be? The answer is yes and no.

Now, before you mumble “stop the BS and let’s get some answers here Mr. Car Expert”, let me explain from the beginning.

Mercedes first started selling the Sprinter in Canada in 2004, during the honeymoon of the Daimler-Chrysler marriage, as a replacement for its dinosaur Ram van line.  Compared to the traditional American van design, it was revolutionary. The van was boxy, square, tall and about 50% more fuel efficient than the American panel vans. It also had wide opening rear doors (you can swing them all the way around, flat with the sides of the van) that allowed for almost full side-to-side and floor-to-ceiling openings and the side doors could be fork lift loaded (the doors were wide enough to fit a standard pallet).

The Sprinter had an excellent driving position, with commanding visibility and much more room in the cabin around the driver than any Econoline (Ford van line) operator could ever dream of. The truck was maneuverable, had a decent ride, handling and strong brakes. It actually performed! Imagine that! A work truck that drove almost like car! What will those pesky Germans think of next? And how dare they, anyway? Everyone knows that a delivery driver has to be punished for his low social status! Make his workplace hell!

Well, the engineers at Daimler didn’t agree and made the truck even more desirable by creating many different variants of the machine. Short or long wheel base, low or high roof, single or dual rear wheels and three different weight ratings, you name it the Sprinter had it!

It seemed like the Sprinter would take the light commercial truck market by storm. However in a typical German fashion, what the engineers achieved, the marketing geniuses at Daimler/Chrysler completely blew. They set the price point of the van so high, it could not compete with Ford and GM. Instead of introducing a modern replacement for light trucks to the North American market, they made the Sprinter a very niche, narrow application machine.

Not only that, but the van quickly developed a reputation for expensive maintenance, troubling system failures and rust. The Sprinter was very sensitive to the quality and regularity of maintenance and the fleet culture in North America was not used to that in the light truck segment. Chrysler also made parts absurdly expensive, only adding fuel to the fire.

The Sprinter was on the verge of failing here, when Daimler pulled the plug on Chrysler and decided to market and distribute the truck under the Mercedes-Benz brand in 2010.

What has changed since then? Not much. The quality has improved somewhat and the van remains the only modern light truck offering in Canada. It is very efficient and it’s still about 30-40% more fuel efficient than the improved Chevy and Ford vans. It remains sensitive to maintenance, but the high repair costs are kept in check by the 5-year, 160,000 km warranty on the diesel engine – the most sensitive part of the truck. Mercedes has also kept pricing in line and aggressively discounts the truck whenever inventory builds up too much.

So, is the Sprinter for you? The truck does work and delivers measurable savings in some applications, and this is where we can help by evaluating your needs and finding the right van for you.

It also excels in creating a better work environment for the driver, something that’s often forgotten or ignored. A happier and more relaxed worker delivers real long-term gains for any company, even though they are hard to measure. Smart businessmen know it.

2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 High Roof. Well equipped MSRP: $53,400. Our price $45,000 + HST.

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