Mercedes-Benz Vans continued on its successful course of success from the previous year in 2015, setting a new record for unit sales. Earnings also reached an all-time high at the division. Growth was primarily driven by the Vito and Sprinter vans. Sales of the Sprinter were higher than ever before in the model’s 20-year production history. The market launch of the very successful mid-size Vito van in North and South America marked yet another milestone in the implementation of our ”Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy. We consistently moved ahead with our internationalization strategy also in the private customer segment, and were active in new sales markets with our V-Class multipurpose vehicle and the camper van version of the Marco Polo. This contributed to a significant increase in earnings at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Mercedes-Benz Vans | Trailer 2015
New records for unit sales, revenue and EBIT
Mercedes-Benz Vans set a new sales record in 2015, with an increase of 9 % to 321,000 units. At €11.5 billion, revenue was also significantly higher than in the previous year (2014: €10.0 billion). EBIT rose by 29 % to the new record level of €880 million. (See table C.05)
C.05 Mercedes-Benz Vans
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||7.7||6.8||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||202||304||-34|
|Research and development expenditure||384||293||+31|
|Employees (December 31)||22,639||21,598||+5|
C.06 Unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||15,750||16,063||-2|
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ products remained successful also in 2015. Our Sprinter, Vito and Citan vans are targeted mainly at commercial customers while the V-Class is designed primarily for private use.
Unit sales in Western Europe, our most important market, rose by 10 % to 208,500 vans in the year under review. Particularly significant increases were recorded in Sweden (+27 %), Belgium (+25 %) and Switzerland (+17 %), and Mercedes-Benz Vans also posted strong growth in the key volume markets of Western Europe. For example, we set a new sales record in Germany with 88,400 units (2014: 79,900). Despite a difficult market environment in Eastern Europe, Mercedes-Benz Vans was able to increase its sales in the region to 32,200 units, an increase of 5 % over the prior year.
Mercedes-Benz Vans remained on course for growth also in the NAFTA region, where sales rose sharply to 40,500 units. The success story of our Sprinter continues in the United States, where we launched the Metris in the fourth quarter of 2015. Sales of 32,400 units in the United States (+25 %) marked a new record for the division. Sales in Canada increased by 24 % to 5,100 units.
Despite the difficult economic conditions in Latin America, we were still able to sell 15,800 units in that region, which was slightly lower than the number sold in the previous year (2014: 16,100). At 7,200 units, sales in China were significantly lower than in the prior year (2014: 12,800), largely due to the upcoming model changeover in the mid-size van segment. We sold a total of 194,200 Sprinter vehicles worldwide during the year under review (+4 %), which marks a new record for sales of large vans. Sales of mid-size vans were also significantly higher than in the previous year, totaling 105,100 units (2014: 86,000). Sales of Vito models for the commercial segment rose by 23 % to 74,400 vehicles. Sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan totaled 21,700 units (2014: 22,100). The V-Class multipurpose vehicle remains very appealing to our customers; sales of the model rose by 20 % to 30,700 units.
An icon turns 20: the Sprinter remains a bestseller and a guarantee of success
In September, we celebrated the Sprinter’s 20th year of production at the van plant in Düsseldorf. In 1995, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter established the large-van segment that still bears its name — a segment it has continued to shape ever since. The Sprinter is now on the road in more than 130 countries and has been sold more than 2.9 million times. The model is thus one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and one of the bestsellers in the Daimler product portfolio. The high level of versatility within the model series is very popular with our customers around the world: The large premium van comes in three different wheelbase lengths and cargo space heights, and four different body lengths. The model is also available as an all-wheel drive van as an option. Trailblazing technical innovations have repeatedly made their debut in the Sprinter throughout the model’s history. For example, we were the first van manufacturer to introduce the ABS anti-lock braking system in 1995, and we followed that up with the inclusion of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) in 2002. Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved a further pioneering milestone in 2006 with the introduction of Adaptive ESP as standard equipment. The innovative system takes into account the current weight and center of gravity of the vehicle. Both generations of ESP led to a dramatic decline in accidents. The latest Sprinter also comes with Crosswind Assist as a further innovation. Along with our efforts to enhance safety, we are also committed to optimizing fuel consumption and reducing emissions in the large van segment. Thanks to our current efficiency package, the Sprinter boasts official standard consumption of 6.1 liters per 100 km.
20 years Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Anniversary-Tour
In order to improve our long-term cost position and meet the demand for the Sprinter in North America, which has been rising for several years now, we will build a new Mercedes-Benz Vans production plant in Charleston, in the US federal state of South Carolina. The facility will enable us to supply customers in North America with the next-generation Sprinter more rapidly and in a more individualized manner. Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest roughly half a billion dollars in the new van plant in the next several years. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016. The facility in Charleston will boast a completely new body shop, a paint shop and a final assembly area. With this new plant, we are continuing the development of our global production network and achieving a new milestone for our ”Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy.
Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global: Vito successfully launched in new markets
The Vito is the second global van from Mercedes-Benz Vans, following the Sprinter. After its market launch in Europe in 2014, the mid-size van was introduced in North America in October 2015 under the name Metris. With its attractive design and wide range of variants, the model sets new standards in its segment. The Metris also stands out with its high payload and efficient engines. The new van expands the Mercedes-Benz Vans product program below the Sprinter and is thus able to meet various customer requirements in the North American market. An important area of application involves parcel deliveries in connection with the growing online retail sector. Vito models for the Latin American market are built at the Mercedes-Benz Centro Industrial Juan Manuel Fangio plant near the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. We also offer the Vito Tourer — a Vito variant designed especially for passenger transport that optimally meets the demand for shuttle buses and taxis, and can also be used by limousine companies.
The new Vito | World Premiere
A new chapter in the V-Class success story
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class was presented to the Japanese public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2015 and has been available in Japan since January 2016. The multipurpose vehicle’s launch in Japan marks its entry into a second major right-hand drive market after the UK. The MPV was also featured at the Dubai International Motor Show in November 2015 and will be launched in the United Arab Emirates and other markets in the Middle East in the spring of 2016. The V-Class is now sold at Mercedes-Benz passenger car and commercial vehicle dealerships in more than 90 countries. Beginning in the spring of 2016, additional sales momentum should be generated by the introduction of new equipment features such as the AMG Line and the segment’s largest panoramic roof.
World Premiere of the new V-Class
Mercedes-Benz Vans on course for success in the camper van market
Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its presence in the camper van market as well. The Marco Polo and Marco Polo ACTIVITY models have become quite successful just one year after their market launch, as evidenced by the great demand for the two vehicles. The popularity of the Marco Polo has also led to awards from two trade journals. Readers of promobil named the Marco Polo ”Compact Camper Van of the Year” for the second consecutive time in 2015, while readers of AUTO BILD REISEMOBIL put the compact camper van in first place, leading to an award as ”Das Goldene AUTO BILD Reisemobil 2015” at the end of August. The V-Class and the Vito are also conquering the market for customized extensions and body types for compact camper vans by serving as attractive base vehicles. More and more camper van manufacturers are relying on the two premium models, both of which feature an all-new pop-up roof.
Camping at Portugal’s seaside with the Marco Polo
Portfolio expansion with a new pickup
We will expand our product range into a very promising segment before the end of the decade by becoming the first premium manufacturer to build a pickup truck. Within the framework of our ”Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” strategy, a pickup is the ideal vehicle for achieving a targeted expansion of our attractive range of products on an international scale. In the pickup segment as well, we will stand out through an unmistakable design and all of our typical brand attributes with regard to safety, comfort, powertrain quality and high value. Versatile pickups that boast a high degree of all-round quality and a payload capacity of around one ton are very popular around the world and thus offer solid sales potential. The initial target markets for the new model will be Latin America, South Africa, Australia and Europe.
Awards for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito
Mercedes-Benz Vans gained a double victory in the competition ”CEP Van of the Year 2015.” The vehicles were assessed by a panel of experts from the courier, express and postal sectors (CEP). The Vito 111 CDI and the Sprinter 316 CDI succeeded against strong competition. The new Mercedes-Benz Vito took first place in the category ”Vans up to 3.0 tons” and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter defended its top position of recent years in the category ”Vans up to 3.5 tons.”