The Sprinter van offers practical versatility to a chauffeured transportation industry looking to diversify its fleets.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Daimler Vans USA launched its fourth new Sprinter model – the Shuttle Van – at a media preview held at its Charleston assembly plant on April 7. The other three models in the Sprinter lineup are the Cargo Van, Passenger Van, and Chassis Cab.
The newly launched Sprinter Shuttle Van is available with a choice of four seating configurations:
• Airport Shuttle — Perimeter seating for 15 passengers plus driver, as well as an 80-inch two-tier luggage rack.
• Commuter Shuttle — Forward-facing seating for 16 passengers plus driver, and optional video equipment with monitors ranging from 11- to 17-inches.
• Hotel Shuttle — Forward-facing seating for 15 passengers, plus driver, and rear luggage area with fixed dividing wall.
• Paratransit Shuttle — Available with side or rear wheelchair lift, the ADA-compliant shuttle offers multiple wheelchair positions and forward-facing seating for up to eight passengers plus driver.
Claus Tritt, general manager of DAIMLER VANS USA, said the Sprinter Shuttle Van is targeted for use by airports, limousine services, rental car agencies, and residential care and community shuttles.
“We are definitely looking to grow this business,” said Tritt in an interview with Limousine, Charter & Tour Magazine. “We see a lot of potential. We’re going after that business.”
Several coachbuilders are in the process of becoming approved upfitters for Daimler Vans USA. Tritt believes the Sprinter gives coachbuilders an opportunity to diversify their product offerings and reach new markets.
Tritt added the Sprinter’s internal configuration helps facilitate upfitting. “For a coachbuilder, the Sprinter is easy to work with. It has nearly upright walls, which makes upfitting easier. You don’t have to build around curves. It has a low floor and high roof height, which enhances passenger convenience.”
Tritt also said Sprinter offers coachbuilders a lower cost of operation. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter model is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel that gets 30% better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine.
In addition, Shuttle Van standard equipment includes an electrically operated split-entry door and step to make it easy on passengers with luggage, and air suspension that ensures automatic vehicle leveling, regardless of load.
On Jan. 1, Daimler Vans began selling the Sprinter under the Mercedes and Freightliner brand name. It has appointed 120 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner dealers to sell Sprinter vehicles.
“The Mercedes brand gives us so much potential, especially in the personal transport/limo/shuttle business segment,” Tritt said. “The Mercedes ‘star’ is known as a symbol of luxury, reliability, and safety.”
All Sprinter models include as standard equipment ADAPTIVE ESP stability and rollover control, ABS anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist, and traction control. The driver and front passenger seats are equipped with standard multi-stage front air bags, and side curtain and torso air bags are optionally available. Other options include Bi-Xenon head-lights, a tire pressure monitoring system, and a Parktronic parking aid.
— Mike Antich, editor of Work Truck Magazine, for LCT Magazine