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2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter First Impressions

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Luc Gagné
The Nonconformist
Laval, Quebec — The world-famous Sprinter achieved a significant milestone in 2010. Actually, make that three milestones… like the three points of Mercedes’ silver star logo!

The Sprinter stopped being sold under the Dodge name earlier this year after rejoining the Mercedes-Benz family. (Photo: Luc Gagné/

First of all, the model is celebrating its 15th anniversary after replacing the old T1 ("Bremer") back in 1995. Then, on September 17th, the German automaker’s Ludwigsfelde assembly plant, near Berlin, produced its one millionth vehicle, which happened to be a Sprinter. Finally, 2010 marks the year that the Sprinter stopped being sold under the Dodge name, having proudly rejoined the Mercedes-Benz family in January.

A necessary transition
During the short-lived Daimler-Chrysler marriage (2003-2009), all Sprinters sold in North America wore Dodge’s ram head logo. The move had signaled the end of the RamVan, which dated all the way back to the Tradesman of the late 1960s.

The storied American brand played a nonconformist card with the Sprinter. Many critics in the industry lashed out at Dodge executives and predicted the eventual failure of their plan. After all, the Sprinter positioned itself in a different class than competitors like the antediluvian Ford E-Series (formerly known as Econoline) and the GM duo of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana.

The difference was so significant that dealers authorized by DaimlerChrysler to market the Sprinter were asked to invest about $1 million to upgrade their facilities and adapt to a vehicle that could stretch up to 24 feet long and stand nearly nine feet tall!

In a strange twist, however, the North American market will soon be hit by a whole new wave of commercial vehicles, including the Nissan NV and Fiat Ducato, the latter likely replacing the Sprinter at Chrysler! Ford, meanwhile, is strongly considering bringing the Transit from Europe as a larger alternative to the current Transit Connect.

Times change… and so do principles.

Plenty of selection
In order to showcase the various attributes of their newly-updated van, Mercedes-Benz Canada held the "Sprinter On Tour," a 19-day adventure across the country which obviously took part in.

In order to showcase the various attributes of their newly-updated van, Mercedes-Benz Canada held the "Sprinter On Tour". (Photo: Luc Gagné/
Luc Gagné
Luc Gagné
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • Over 59 test drives in the past year
  • Attended over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists