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Dodge Sprinter

lmac1lmac1 Posts: 13
My local Freightliner dealer now has the Freightliner Sprinter cargo vans in stock and is expecting one or two Sprinter passenger vans later this month. My question: How do I come up with a fair offer? I know what they want, but can't find any dealer's cost or the like on Edmunds (or any where else?)

Does anyone have any thoughts?
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Comments

  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    I thought they had postponed production for some time so I am surprised and glad to hear they are out. So, is the Sprinter at your dealer made in the US like originally planned or did they decide to rebadge and ship them from Germany? Mind if ask where this dealer is? I can't wait to check one out. For those new to this topic, the Sprinter is actually a Mercedes TDI van that could well be the foundation of an ultimate camper van (yes, even an improvement over the beloved Eurovan).
  • lmac1lmac1 Posts: 13
    jimjps - my local Freighliner dealer is Barton Freightliner in Memphis, TN. I went there last month and they had 10 or so Sprinter cargo vans. They had initially ordered 50 cargo vans, and expected all to arrive sometime last month. While I don't know for sure, I thought that they were asembled in the US. Per the "rumors" that I'm hearing, the trouble is the lack of Freightliner dealers willing to meet the requirements that Daimler Chrysler has for Sprinter dealership (including separate show rooms, etc.). But there seems to be more and more Freightliner dealers starting to handle the Sprinters. I received email from Freightliner of Knoxville stating that they now have several Sprinter cargos in stock, and expect Sprinter passenger vans very soon.
    Corcerning the VW Eurowan, I now have a '90 Vanagon Multivan with the Wesfalia top, and will miss it if we move to a Sprinter. Westflia (which is now partly owned, I believe, by Daimler Chrysler) does make a full RV verson of the Sprinter for Europe (called the Marco Polo or Jim Cook, etc.) If you'r familar with Sportsmobile who did really nice camper conversions for the VW bus way back in the '60's and now do camper conversions of full size Ford, Chevy and
    Dodge vans, I did receive email from Sportsmolbe TX that they "plan" to do Sprinter conversions "probably" starting next spring.
    The only two issues now holding me back from ordering a Sprinter is (1) being sure that I can get a good wheelchair lift for the side sliding door for the Sprinter (all the wheelchair lifts I've seen in Europe on Spritners are mounted on the rear door); and (2) how to know what a "reasonable" offer is?
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    I've done a little more research since last posting. Afraid I have little to contribute on determining fair price other than the obvious of starting with the MSRP and see if you can go down from there. What impresses me about this FWD design is the floor to ceiling height (which is the most important dimension for a camper/utility van in my opinion). The lower (not raised) roof van is way beyond any minivan (excluding pop-tops) with a 63" internal height. Compare that to Eurovan ~53" or Odyssey ~50" and the rest are 48" or less. Even the RWD Econolines/Expess vans with their very high floors offer aprox the same internal height as the minivans and yet they are overall higher than even the Sprinter. The Sprinter FWD puts them to shame as far as internal size/external size packaging goes.

    Anyway, with an overall height of 74" this means the floor should be way low like only about one foot off the ground which should make it an ideal vehicle for the wheelchair lift and I would have to think a rear wheelchair lift makes sense except that it means most of the floor has to be clear of everything. I also noted the short wheelbase Sprinter is only 184" long (in Germany, maybe US bumpers add a bit) making it a bit shorter than any current US available minivan, but undoubtably it has more useable space than any of them with a ceiling over 1 foot higher than the rest. Dimensionally, it is what I am looking for and I would opt for the passenger van or comparably dimensioned cargo van. The raised roof is out because the 74" high version can fit my garage and most parking garages and it still has amazing head room. Although I can see that for an all-out camper one want the raised roof which allows one to walk upright in the van.
    I also like the economy and durability of the direct injection turbo diesel which maintains all of it's power at high altitude.

    Which brings us to the only problem, they look a bit expensive. I saw some reference to "starts at about $26K" and another starting from $27K. This probably refered to the smallest basic cargo van. The Sprinter site "sprinter-savvy.com" is not working. Not easy to get much info on the internet - Freightliner needs to get this fixed if they want to market effectively. I got some of my info from the Mercedes Vito site. This is really a breakthrough design.
  • lmac1lmac1 Posts: 13
    jimjps - I'm afraid you might be getting some conflicting data on the Sprinter and Vito. The Sprinter that Freightliner will be selling in the US is the rear drive model (I believe Merecedes does have a FWD Sprinter in Europe). The Vito is substantially smaller that the Sprinter - the exterior height of the LOW roof Sprinter is 92 inches (the high roof Sprinter is 101 inches high). We have an 8 foot garage door and it appears that we will be able to garage a low roof Sprinter IF we can do something with the roof mounted radio antenna that they all seem to come with. The only time I got to inspect the cargo Sprinters at my dealer, I did not have a tape measure - however, the floor is quite a bit more than 1 foot off the ground, it look more like 2 feet (definitely more than my '90 VW Vanagon.

    As far as MSRP, I'll quote from an email I recieved a week or so ago from a TN dealer: "I have one extended van available now. The one I have now is $32,985, the 6 I have coming are priced at $34,560 they have just about every option available."

    I haven't seen any clue as the MSRP of a passenger Spritner, but it will be more than a cargo Sprinter.

    All said, I am still seriously considering placing an order -just waiting to hear from a wheelchair lift installer to make sure I can do what I need to re two wheelchairs.
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    Well I guess it's the Vito that I'm so excited about and sorry we won't get it, or a close variant.
    My numbers were taken from the Vito site and it really impresses me. Best wishes on the Sprinter. .
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Wearing a large unmistakeable Mercedes badge on the front. Maybe the are coming in from Germany instead of S.C.
  • yzfyzf Posts: 65
    Sprinter vans are manufactured in Germany by DaimlerChrysler AG (formerly Daimler-Benz AG) at their factory in Dusseldorf. They are then knocked down and shipped in pieces to the U.S. DaimlerChrysler Vans, LLC is the official (and sole) importer. Once they arrive, the Sprinter vans are reassembled in South Carolina then sold through authorized Freightliner dealers.
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    Here's a lot of info I found on another site. Of particular interest - base prices start at 26,300.
    Daimler hopes to go from just reassembling Sprinters in the US to manufacturing them here. Also, plans are to eventually make the american "Vito" in the US. Looks like along wait for that Vito that I like so much and by that time it will be the next generation model.

    By Diana T. Kurylko
    Automotive News / December 10, 2001

    Ninety Dodge dealers next year will sell a full-sized Sprinter van built by
    Mercedes-Benz and badged as a Freightliner.

    DaimlerChrysler will begin looking for a North American plant to build
    commercial and passenger versions.

    Offering pricey Mercedes-built vehicles to Dodge dealers could undermine the
    vaunted Mercedes brand identity. But it's the quickest way for the company to
    expand sales of Mercedes full-sized commercial vans in the vast U.S. market.

    "Dodge dealers are used to selling the Ram van on price. There will be no deal
    of the month with Sprinter," said Tim Reuss, CEO of DaimlerChrysler Vans LLC,
    the South Carolina sales and marketing company set up in June. "We will have to
    teach them how to sell Sprinter on its attributes and quality."

    DaimlerChrysler said that the Sprinter, with a base sticker of $26,300, costs
    about 10 percent more than the competition. That's similar to the premium
    pricing of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

    In addition to a cargo version used for such things as delivery vehicles and
    service trucks, a model with bare-bones passenger seating will be offered for
    uses such as airport vans.

    The van strategy is complex:

    a.. Within four years, both the Freightliner Sprinter and the Mercedes-Benz
    Vito, the luxurious passenger van sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers worldwide, will
    be built in North America, possibly in a new factory. Chrysler has excess
    capacity, but it may be more efficient to build from scratch than refurbish an
    aging Chrysler group factory.

    b.. The Vito will come to some Freightliner and Dodge dealers in the 2004
    model year after a major redesign. The Vito is built on the same platform as
    the Sprinter, but has a more aesthetic shape and has the luxurious trim and
    upscale equipment of a traditional Mercedes-Benz car.

    c.. The vehicles will wear "Powered by Mercedes-Benz" badges and have a
    high-technology diesel engine used in Mercedes cars in sold in Europe. Thus,
    shoppers can buy advanced Mercedes diesel engines at Dodge dealerships.

    Dodge needs big vans

    The Sprinter and Vito will fill a product gap in the Dodge range. The aging
    full-sized 3500 Ram Van range, priced at $21,045 for the Maxi-van version, is
    being phased out at the end of 2002 because of declining sales.

    The segment is led by Ford Motor Co., whose Econoline and Club Wagon had 45.5
    percent share of the market in the first 11 months of 2001.

    But DaimlerChrysler is counting on Sprinter product attributes, such as
    Mercedes-Benz engineering and safety, an independent front suspension, a
    five-speed electronically controlled transmission and a five-cylinder 2.7-liter
    common rail diesel engine. The same engine is offered on the Mercedes-Benz C-
    and E-class cars and the M-class sport-utility in Europe, with better
    fuel-economy than the competition's gasoline engines.

    The Sprinter will be offered in three different wheelbases and two heights.

    Search starts in January

    In January, Mercedes-Benz will begin searching for a site to build both the
    Sprinter and Vito beginning in 2006 with an annual capacity of up to 120,000
    units. Consideration is being given to using the Chrysler group's Windsor,
    Ontario, factory, which assembles the full-sized Dodge Ram Van, said Rolf
    Bartke, senior vice president of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the unit in charge of
    manufacturing and marketing both vehicles.

    "We will probably build a greenfield plant in the U.S. because both Mexico and
    Canada require a local content of 62 percent in vehicles built in their
    countries. We aren't likely to approach that number for our vans," Bartke said.

    Bartke recently met with Chrysler executives at the Windsor plant to discuss
    the options.

    A new U.S. factory would require an investment of $1 billion - $700 million for
    the factory and $300 million for engineering and other costs, said Bartke.
    About 4,000, new jobs would be created.

    Bartke said the site selection process hasn't begun.

    The Sprinter is currently built in Germany and reassembled from kits in
    Gaffney, S.C. The Gaffney plant can't assemble more than 20,000 units annually,
    Bartke said.

    M-B has high U.S. hopes

    The vehicles, which are sold everywhere else in the world as Mercedes-Benz
    models, debuted for sale this year in the United States with the Freightliner
    badge. The first sales were to FedEx Corp., which asked DaimlerChrysler to
    export to the United States. FedEx bought 1,900 Sprinters.

    The decision to rebadge the vans as Freightliners - the commercial vehicle unit
    that makes and sells heavy-duty trucks in the United States - came after
    extensive research in which potential customers said they didn't want their
    business vehicles wearing the Mercedes-Benz name, said Reuss.

    "Florists and cargo carriers said if their customers saw them driving
    Mercedes-Benz vehicles, they'd wonder if they were paying too much for their
    services," Reuss said. "Mercedes-Benz is regarded as more of a luxury brand in
    the U.S. than it is in Europe, where taxis and even big trucks have the name."

    Freightliner's dealer network is also being used to sell the Sprinter. By the
    end of 200
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,140
    "The clear performance advantages lay in the handling. The Sprinter didn't feel ungainly, despite its size and hauling capability...."

    First Drive: 2002 Freightliner Sprinter

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • zobzob Posts: 1
    I saw the Sprinter last spring in Italy and I thought it might make a great platform for a modern version of the VW Camper Van. I then saw a FedEx Sprinter this summer and it renewed my interest. Finally, I saw that they are bringing it here as a Freightliner and I know the cargo version would be perfect as a platform for a pop up camper. I know VW still makes the pop up but it is too "pretty" now that Winnebago took over for Westfalia and too expensive. Am I off or does anyone see this too?
  • lmac1lmac1 Posts: 13
    I think there is a lot of people looking at the Freightliner Sprinter for camper van conversion. I believe DaimlerChrysler now owns part of Westfalia so it seems logical that a Westfalia version of the Sprinter might come over sometime in the future. I heard that the folks at Sportsmobile should have a Sprinter this month and will then start "engineering review" for a conversion (Sportsmobile did VW bus conversions back in the '60's). I'm waiting to see a Sprinter passenger van for carrying two wheelchair bound passengers. I drove a Sprinter cargo van a few weeks ago and was very impressed. While it felt much bigger than my '90 Vanagon, it seemed more "drivable" than a Ford E350 (the other van I'm considering.
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    I live in Salt Lake City and I have noticed several Sprinters here that are being used as shuttles to and from the various hotels, venues, events, etc. Things haven't even hit full stride yet but I am starting to see a lot of public transportation vehicles cropping up all over the place.

    I don't think I could ever own a Sprinter though . . . it would never fit in my carport!
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    So far only the hiboys have been sold in USA. I assume most personal users would want the regular roof...
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    I would personally wait for one that said "Dodge." Just cannot imagine driving anything badged "Freightliner" even if I knew it was a Mercedes.
  • yzfyzf Posts: 65
    You may be waiting quite a while for your "Dodge" badged Sprinter van. The Sprinters are imported by DCVans, a wholly owned subsidiary of DCAG in Germany. They have no connection whatsoever with the DaimlerChrysler operations in Auburn Hills. Not likely they will bear the "Dodge" name any time soon.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,758
    ...ummmm - click the First Drive story under helpful links over on the left. It says that Dodge will be selling the Sprinter as a replacement for the Dodge Ram Van.
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    I live in Salt Lake as well, an I have seen a couple on the road. I realize that minivans are for utility over aesthetics, however, the Sprinter has to be the ugliest box on wheels I have ever seen. The body is a perfect rectangle with a sloped front. This van is clearly designed for use as a cargo van, that can be configured for use as a shuttle.
    I could never imagine owning one for a daily driver. Unless you drive school buses during the day, the sprinter would have to feel like a school bus to drive.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    I've read that Sprinter will replace the Ramwagon in 2004. Who knows.
  • yzfyzf Posts: 65
    Hmmm.... news to me. If so, then I stand corrected. My understanding from sources at DCVans was contrary to the article - that the Sprinters were to remain Freightliner badged. Perhaps there will be a Dodge version that is of slightly different design?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    might be based on the Vito platform which is sold over in Europe.
  • lmac1lmac1 Posts: 13
    I've driven a Sprinter and I really like it. While it is a lot bigger than my '90 Vanagon, it doesn't "drive" any bigger than a 1/2 ton pickup (I drove both the high and low roof, 140" wheelbase cargo Sprinter). I didn't get the Sprinter in any high cross winds, but don't think cross winds will be a problem (at least nothing like in my old '70 VW bus - had white knuckles several times). I've put a deposit down on a Sprinter passenger van, but my dealer doesn't know when it might come in - they "think" it is "on a boat".
    It is my understanding, based on a MotorTrend report, etc., that "some" Dodge dealers will start selling the Sprinter sometime this year "badged" as a Freightliner, and that a Vito model will be coming over in '04.
  • yzfyzf Posts: 65
    Thanks. I was getting worried that my DCVan sources were wrong! I'm not surprised about the Sprinters being sold at some Dodge dealers. My understanding was (and still is) that the badging will remain Freightliner - at least for now.
  • bcawthonbcawthon Posts: 1
    The Freightliner Sprinter will be sold through about 90 Dodge dealers in North America. This will be in addition to 160 Freightliner Centers. All of the vans will carry the Freightliner name. There was talk at one time of also producing them under the Dodge name at the Pillete Road plant in Ontario, Canada (where the Dodge B-Series vans are built), but it was decided to keep the Freightliner name on all U.S. Sprinters.

    The Vito will come to the U.S. in 2004 after a redesign makes its debut next year. The Vito, which is slightly smaller than a Dodge Caravan, is built in Spain.

    There is a third, smaller van called the Vaneo that has just gone on sale in Europe. At this time, there are no plans for it to come to North America.

    Both vans will be marketed and distributed through DaimlerChrysler Vans, LLC. DCV is a business unit similar to the German van unit, but it is not a subsidiary of the Mercedes unit. Ultimately, DCV will have responsibility for all North American van activities, including the Chrysler and Dodge minivans.

    DaimlerChrysler is currently looking for a site for a new van assembly facility. Sites under consideration include Jacksonville, Florida, Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Sprinter cargo vans are currently assembled at Freightliner's Custom Chassis operation in Gaffney, South Carolina. A new plant could be operational by 2006.

    All Sprinter vans are manufactured in Duesseldorf, Germany. Cargo vans are shipped in "kit" form to Gaffney for final assembly. Passenger vans are shipped over fully assembled. This is due to tariff regulations.
  • wosmanwosman Posts: 1
    I test drove a DCX/Freightliner Sprinter Passenger van last week and was suprised by its power and agility. It felt as strong as my current Caravan and turned almost as well. It was a 2500HC (140" WB, low-top roof, 10 seater) with about all the options you can get. It didn't seem tippy at all. This model was only 3" narrower than a full-size GMC, about as long as my Dakota Club cab, and about the same height as a hi-top GMC or Ford conversion. It felt VERY solid and you can't beat the headrests and 3-point belts at every seating position. Although the interior was not what I would call plush by any stretch, it was functional -cup holders for all the back seats and would hold up well with growing kids. Plus, even with 3 rows of rear seats, there is a HUGE amount of cargo room in the back.
    Since I have five kids and there is no more room left in my '96 Caravan, I am seriously considering this as a replacement. Has anyone else purchased or considered one for personal passenger use?
  • huntermanhunterman Posts: 1
    I have been looking at buying a Sprinter but am concerned about a few things. First being the price. The only place I seem to be able to get any price info is from the dealer and frankly it seems high. The second thing is the fuel mileage, does it really get 22mpg and is that high way or city? Third is the options and configuration. When I went to my dealer he told me that the configuration I wanted was not available even though it is shown in the brochure. Can anyone shed some light on some of this for me?
  • georgesrgeorgesr Posts: 4
    I have posted a sample order form I received from the Freightliner dealer showing the option packages and what they cost. The total price shows all the Cargo packages available, which you would only order one Cargo Package
    I have not ordered my Sprinter yet, so cannot verify these prices.


    The Address Is:

    http://www.geocities.com/ghendren/

  • georgesrgeorgesr Posts: 4
    I redone the Website for the Sprinter Pricing. The new address is:

    http://www.geocities.com/freightlinersprintervan/index.html
  • georgesrgeorgesr Posts: 4
    At this time Bev and I have a 16 foot Scamp and are towing it with a
    97 Safari AWD van. This combination has worked out for us except for
    the mpg (11). We do a lot of ice fishing with the van and the AWD is
    great. It seems that for pulling the Scamp, the Safari is more then
    we need and we could get better mileage if we had a different van. I
    have been considering the Sprinter as a tow vehicle because of it's
    22 MPG. Has anyone considered the Freightliner Sprinter Van as a tow
    vehicle?
    http://www.sprintersavvy.com/home/index.html
  • tdiphaetontdiphaeton Posts: 4
    Ever since Volkswagen stopped selling the 5-cylinder Eurovan in the US, we have had NO vans with a manual tranny.

    -----

    Also, the article from Edmunds mentions that the Vito will replace the Ram van, not the Sprinter.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Right? At least on this side of the pond...
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