After another record sales year, Mercedes-Benz Vans announces significant investments for the future. Two billion euros will be spent in the expansion and renewal of its product portfolio and for new services, in 2017 and 2018.
The main areas of investment include the new Mercedes-Benz pickup and the next generation of the Sprinter large van, as well as innovative overall concepts all around the products of Mercedes-Benz Vans. As one of the first concrete results of the strategic initiative for the future, adVANce, Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH will start with the launch of the first products in mid-2017 with its range of new rental, sharing, leasing and fleet-management services from one source. It is also planned to double the number of adVANce employees from the current total of approximately 200 to 400 by the end of the year.
A significant part of the investment by Mercedes-Benz Vans in 2017 will be for the ongoing modernization and expansion of the worldwide production network – especially in view of preparations for the new models. This year the division will invest approximately 260 million euros at the German Sprinter plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde alone.
Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz Vans will launch the next generation of the Sprinter. With the next generation, Mercedes-Benz Vans intends to redefine this aspiration – driven by adVANce. In the future, the large van will be fully connected.
The lead plant of worldwide Sprinter production in Düsseldorf and the other Sprinter plant in Germany in Ludwigsfelde are making intensive preparations for the market launch of the next generation. The construction of the new Sprinter plant in North Charleston in South Carolina, USA, is continuing this year. Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing a total of approximately half a billion US dollars in the new plant.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is making substantial investments to prepare for the launch of the X-Class, the world’s first premium pickup. By the time of the market launch, the division will have invested a high nine-digit euro amount. Mercedes-Benz Vans will first launch the X-Class in Europe in late 2017. Other key markets such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Brazil will follow as of 2018.
The X-Class will be the Mercedes among pickups with design features typical of the brand as well as high levels of comfort, driving dynamics and safety. It is being produced in cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production will start for European markets this year at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain. That will later be followed by production for Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. After that, production will start for the Latin American market at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina.
In 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans handed over a total of approximately 359,100 vans and multipurpose vehicles to its customers, representing growth of approximately 12 percent (2015: 321,000). Revenue also increased by about 12 percent to 12.8 billion euros (2015: 11.5 billion euros). Mercedes-Benz Vans’ earnings (EBIT) actually rose by a third to 1,170 million euros (plus approximately 33 percent from 880 million euros in 2015) and were for the first time above one billion euros.