The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on many automakers in the U.S. – that's pretty much expected with low demand and production schedule issues. Mercedes-Benz is one of those brands that have been reportedly making changes in its lineup recently, the latest of which is the Freightliner Sprinter van's end of production.
According to Automotive News, the Sprinter van, which is sold in Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz dealers, will be exclusively Mercedes moving forward. Of note, Sprinter vans are built at a plant in South Carolina as CKD units by Freightliner.
With that said, the last output of the South Carolina plant will happen in September 2021, according to Automotive News' report. The last Freightliner Sprinter will be sold on December 31, 2021. Mercedes has already told 36 Freightliner dealers about the move this week. As mentioned, however, Mercedes will continue to sell Sprinter vans in its dealerships.
"The high homologation costs for a single-market, low-volume product as the U.S.-only Freightliner Sprinter brand were central to this decision," said Robert Veit, vice president and managing director of Daimler Vans, in a letter to dealers obtained by Automotive News. "We will be working in close communication with the Freightliner Sprinter Dealer Board as we roll out the necessary actions to discontinue the distribution of Freightliner Sprinter."
Mercedes-Benz is already on the verge of leaning down its U.S. lineup to cut down its cost, according to a report from last month. Many dealers were delighted by this move, citing that the marque's lineup makes it hard for them to sell the cars.
With the current economic climate, trimming down the vehicle range isn't a surprise anymore. We're expecting other automakers to follow suit in the months to come if the current situation doesn't improve.