By on December 4, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2016

We have, perhaps unfairly, categorized German automakers as far more calculating and efficient than their American counterparts. While there is certainly a case to be made for this positive stereotyping, there are also plenty of examples calling this perceived Germanic precision into question. One such instance is the absolutely ridiculous lengths Mercedes-Benz have been going to avoid the chicken tax on its imported vans.

To avoid the truck-based tariff, Mercedes has spent the last decade manufacturing complete vans in Germany only to tear them apart and ship them to South Carolina. American workers could then reassemble the vans in a small kit assembly building, making them technically domestically constructed and saving the company the 25-percent import tax.

“I really couldn’t believe it,” Volker Mornhinweg, global head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, told Automotive News. “To build up and tear down, that’s really something that hurts me, personally. And the costs!” he said, shaking his head at the memory.

The discovery was made in 2010 when Mornhinweg became head of van production. Since that time, he has gradually been establishing a less convoluted way to get German product into the United States.

Mercedes-Benz Vans intends to eliminate the wonky supply line starting with the next generation of the Sprinter. The new vans will be be assembled more normally in South Carolina using a new production and painting system Benz has put together for half a billion dollars.

“Finally, we have the opportunity to build the Sprinter from scratch here in the United States, from this new manufacturing facility,” Mercedes-Benz Vans CEO Michael Balke said.

Transforming the MB van factory from a small assembly workshop to a full-scale manufacturing plant is no measly feat. The enlarged facility is anticipated to create over 1,300 new jobs and should begin accepting applications for those positions by the middle of next year.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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101 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz Went to Absurd Lengths to Avoid the ‘Chicken Tax’...”


  • avatar
    jamescyberjoe

    A zombie tax from the cold war era. It’s an ancient tariff from the early 1960’s that costs U.S. taxpayers and businesses money in the long run and benefits only a very few.

    Honestly if I had to buy a van I’d buy a Chevrolet or Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      These sprinter vans are awesome compared to their Chevy or Ford counterparts. I know lots of guys who use Sprinters as motorcycle haulers, and in terms of MPG, utility (I’m 6’2 and can stand up fully and move around in the high roof version) and drive-ability they’re on another planet from most other vans. The initial purchase price and maintenance costs of the Sprinter are pretty heavy, but overall they are pretty sweet vans.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        The advantage of the sprinter is the better space utilization. The engines however are overworked, and very unreliable unless you get one of the very rare gasoline engines. Usually, by their 40k service, the turbo bearings are already growling.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Sprinters have created a cottage industry of specialists who promise to repair them for an amount seemingly more accessible than dealer rates to the poor broke business owners who bought them in ignorantly optimistic times. Each of the specialists has no shortage of Sprinter carcasses to paint their signage on. They’re the Ladas of hauling.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Are you comparing the Sprinter to the Ford Transit, or the ancient E-Series that is now only for sale as a cutaway or stripped chassis (no body)?

        You can stand up in a high roof Transit, and it gets far better mileage than the E-Series. It drives very well, and offers two gasoline engines and one TurboDiesel. It also isn’t likely to rust into nothingness in five years like a Sprinter.

        • 0 avatar
          kmoney

          @JohnTaurus — Basically the Econoline or the Express/Savanna. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Transit XL in BC that was a cargo and not a 15 passenger. I will admit the Transit Xl passenger vans do look pretty well put together.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Transits and ProMasters are slowly growing in popularity down here. it’s going to take time for upfitters to release new equipment and bodies for them. There’s still decades of stuff out there for the old vans.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            I’d never buy one of those Ram ProMasters, because I don’t think the FWD hardware will hold up the long run. Two other strikes against them? They’re Fiats, and they’re sold by FCA, and who knows how much longer they’ll be around. I’m beginning to see plenty of Transits (Safelite Auto Glass has bought a lot for their mobile glass units) and a few ProMasters.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N
          Older Transits disintergrated into iron oxide, very quickly in Australia

          • 0 avatar

            It looks like as usual you are trying to invent stories. Doesn’t Australia has a dry climate or there is snow for half a year with lot of salt on the roads? Of course European and Asian cars never rust. I am from Russia and live in CA so give me a break. If you want rust – welcome to Russia.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I don’t know. Transits have caught on where I live and the hard-worked ones are already junk. What did that take? 18 months? The gas engine wishes it was installed in a Fusion and moves a loaded Transit about as well as a small human with a winch does. As for the diesels, I’ve yet to even see one.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Transits have caught on where I live and the hard-worked ones are already junk. What did that take? 18 months?”

            I dunno, how easily can you lie?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            They’re not rusty, but they’re rattle traps with thrashed engines, transmissions, door hinges, and driver compartments. I’ll assume you were calling me a liar because you misunderstood my post to mean they were rusted out, as opposed to my thinking you’re a liar because you say arguments lose their meaning when someone mentions SJWs.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Inside looking out
            You another troll? Australia has a dry climate ? check your Geography

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Inside Looking Out,
            If you are able to put some time aside read up on Australia.

            You will find the majority (over 22 million of the 24 million) live in high rainfall regions.

            I would say over half the population live in regions with over 40″ of rain per annum.

            The east cast abounds with rain forest areas as well. Once you move inland a couple hundred miles the country is grasslands, after another few hundred miles it is desert.

            So, the strip right down the east coast is forest and mountains.

        • 0 avatar
          billchrests

          In Manitoba Canada lots of Dodge Sprints around with tin rust around doors but the newest are 9 years old.

          A near bye Electrical Firm has a row 10 year old plus Chevy Vans for sale and what a rusty lot.

          My 2005 Ford Transit Connect is rusting at wheel wells and door hinges. Rust has been coming out of Door Pins from day one. 350km of Highway Deliveries and runs fine.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      for sure, the Ford transits made in Turkey, go through the exact same procedure. Not sure on Chevy.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Ford Tansit is built in Kansas City.

        The Transit Connect is the one imported from Turkey.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        The full-size Transit for the US market is built stateside, Wikipedia states Kansas City Assembly.

        The current Transit Connect is sourced from Spain, the prior from Turkey. The Ram Promaster City is imported from Turkey.

        Chevy City Express/Nissan NV200, and Ram Promaster are assembled in Mexico.

        Chevy/GMC full sized vans hail from Missouri. Nissan NV vans are built on both sides of the border.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No Ford avoided the chicken tax on the Transit Connect by only importing the Wagon version. Then once it was through customs they removed the back seats and their seat belts and put plugs in the attachment wells. They then removed the side glass and replaced it with steel panels.

        Customs did get tired of that work around “The product as entered is not a commercial reality; it exists only to manipulate the tariff schedule rather than for any manufacturing or commercial purpose,” Of course I have to wonder what manufacturing or commercial purpose removing the engine and transmission before shipment and putting it back in once it gets state side that keeps customs from messing with Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @jamescyberjoe
      Ludicrous Tax, that needed bizarre means to get around it. What the quality of the Sprinters were like this after the “operation” is anyone’s guess.
      Volker Mohinweg would be shaking his head of the absurd costs imposed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Well, the Europeans still have excessive duties on American chicken. Before American industrial chicken farming, chicken was a high priced delicacy, and European chicken farms remained small and inefficient. American effiency and scale made it a staple food here, and made French and German farms unable to compete.

      The Europeans eliminated inexpensive American chicken imports virtually overnight with import duties, and the tax on trucks and other European products was retaliation. Europeans have paid the highest price, with unnecessarily high prices for chicken, and foregone exports of the small trucks they specialize in.

      As long as the EU proclaims “Free trade for me, import duties for thee”, the tax will remain. If you’ve been following pronouncements from Brussels on Brexit, you can see the people running the EU are haughty, self-important elitists. As long as they’re running the show, there won’t be any change on either side.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Lorenzo
        Totally absurd. If the Tax is leveraged onto food products, then the ” revenge” should be on food products. From memory Europeans do not eat a lot of Chicken,so those farms would not be profitable.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Well you just go run and get yourself elected in thUS then Rex Ryan. As administration after administration has failed to repeal it I am guessing the American voter cares not about their access to your crappy little trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Spoken like True Troll.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Naa. If I were trolling you I’d work that lunar landing bit in like when I’m talking to your little buddy. Honestly though, if you are putting a tariff on goods in retaliation you have to hit em’ where it hurts. We don’t import a ton of food from Europe but at the time VW trucks were taking off. Why would we put a tariff on Mozerella do Buffalo or equino meat for example…it would have no effect.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “Naa. If I were trolling you I’d work that lunar landing bit in like when I”
            Spoken like. True troll

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Maybe I am Rex Ryan, but my trolling doesn’t change the fact that your assertions are generally asinine and this case is no exception. So, would the Sprinter rust on the moon? Mars?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Big Allah from Mecca,
            The Chicken has distorted the US market. Add this to the multitude of other constraints to support large vehicle production and you now see why I believe the US market’s large vehicle production will soon dwindle. It’s not sustainable.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          ” From memory Europeans do not eat a lot of Chicken,so those farms would not be profitable.”

          Been to France? I mean it ain’t Louisville KY but they do some masterful stuff with chicken. They did this dish with 40 cloves of garlic!!! Oh my God, it was amazing. God bless the French. Quirky Cars and Food… and oh yeah, some paintings from that Monet’ guy.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          I agree wholeheartedly. Drop the tax on trucks and put a 25% tariff on something that would really get their attention, like alcoholic beverages.

      • 0 avatar
        S1L1SC

        @Lorenzo
        The problem with chicken is the processing. US chicken gets disinfected in chlorine during processing, which violates European food safety laws, so they are not allowed to be sold over there.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Accidental Van Expert here…

      The current Chevrolet/GMC is so far outdated and outclassed that it is comical. The Sprinters aren’t particularly durable when used the way we used them here in North America, and repairs are ridiculously expensive. Even maintenance on those Mercedes Diesels is freakin’ expensive. The ProMaster isn’t bad, but again they don’t seem to be durable to a standard we’re used to in the states (both the MB and the Ram get rusty quickly). I’ve only briefly ridden in a Transit so I can’t really can’t comment on them yet.

  • avatar
    Joss

    An opportunity to improve the corrosion resistance so we don’t have to use third party oil once-a-year.
    New Sprinter model – new production set-up?

    Make proximity key an available option -include the bulkhead door. No third party vendors please. So our in-house mechanics don’t have to deal with more than one supplier. That’s the beauty of Sprinter over Freightliner or Ford with Utilmaster bodies and somebody elses magnetic door locks.

    Excellent door mirrors on Sprinter.. manual, folding & modular. One clip, those plastic lenses pop-out and don’t shatter. Pick them up off the road and plug them back in again. Beautiful, foolproof.

    A roll up rear door option would be nice. Instead of those hinged, fold back rear doors.

  • avatar
    jamescyberjoe

    I’m sure they’re great vehicles. But I had a Ford and Chevrolet work vans and they were durable trucks. So they worked for me.
    They were extremely easy to repair and any auto shop could fix them no matter where I was. Parts were easy to find and inexpensive.

    Can that be done with a Mercedes or other German vehicles in the US? No. So that’s why I wouldn’t buy one. Not because they’re bad but because European cars are notorious for high maintenance costs here.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    From 2009: Ford imported Transit Connect passenger wagons, converted them into vans to avoid the chicken tax

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB125357990638429655

    From TTAC 3 years past

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/u-s-customs-calls-fords-importing-transit-connect-as-passenger-vehicle-manipulation-of-chicken-tax-tariff/

  • avatar
    MBella

    They remove the drivetrain from these, and stick it in the back. With the equipment they have at both plants, it is a simple process. It would actually cost more to not install the drivetrain, based on the current German plant design.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Maybe the US built ones won’t start rusting in 6 months.*

    *Ya I know, it’s gotten better, but when these first arrived even here in Seattle where cars last forever you’d see rust all over the Mercedes and Dodge rebadged ones

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @APaGttH
    As I have commented before, you find it very difficult to see rusting Sprinters in Australia or Europe. Not to the extent you have stories about them rusting
    Transits have had those problems plus others in Australia, do not know about the current lot. Transits are not big sellers in Australia, they are in Europe, although dwarfed by surprisingly the VW Transporter , which over the years has been the world’s most prolific Van., that does incliuded the ESeries Van in the US

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Go to the former eastern block where a comparitive lack of inspections keep older vehicles on the road longer. I saw plenty of rusty ones in Romania for example.

      As for Australia, do you salt many roads there? It is a reality in northern US climates. Other makers have figured it out.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        No but plenty of rusting Older Transits

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          In Europe I don’t recall seeing them in great quantity. But maybe. As to here, we only have the last generation. I wonder if it is something to do with Australian construction. The only other Aussie Import I have experience with was the little Mercury Capri from the 90s. They rusted in an era when cars rusting was strange. Perhaps they just weren’t engineered for more extreme cold.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Built in the same places in Europe as yours. Not built in Australia

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            As has been pointed out, our Transit is US built. We never got a Euro one.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Yes, you did. They were initially built n Turkey, then built in US

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            No Robert Ryan you are thinking of the Transit Connect. It is a small, FWD vanlet. It is closer to an escape than a Sprinter. It was built in Turkey, now Spain and imported in a similar manner to the Sprinter though I think they only remove the rear seat or some such thing. The full on Transit is the E series replacement. The US ones have always been built in Kansas City. We are on our second gen Transit Connect here and our first gen Transit. Both have been very well received here and I am unaware of any body corrosion issues on either.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            You are taking trolling to an art form with your many monikers. Transit like the transit connect was but in Turkey now being built in the US South.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No Robert the Transit and Transit Connect are two completely different vehicles that only have the Transit sub-brand in common. The TC was built in Turkey and is now built in Spain. They did avoid the chicken tax by importing only Wagon versions and then converting them to cargo vans in the US. Then customs put an end to that and they now pay the chicken tax.

            The Transit we get in the US is also only related to the older ones in name, it is an all new truck designed for the US market.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Robert,

            stop it. you (as usual) have no clue what you’re talking about. The V227 Transit CONNECT (a C-platform, small, front-wheel-drive city minivan) first was built in Ford Otosan (Turkey) and exported to the US. The second-gen V408 Transit CONNECT is built in Valencia (Spain) and exported to the US.

            The full size, RWD V363 Transit Van and Bus/Kombi have never been exported to the US. All US-market Transits are and have been manufactured completely at Kansas City Assembly alongside the F-150.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @JimZ
            Clueless as usual, read my reply to Scoutdude

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      As a matter of fact, I live in the former eastern bloc country; Poland, to be precise. Big Al’s spot on. Among the cargo vans – which are all prone to rusting – the Sprinters are easily the worst. Better yet, apparently, unlike some of its competitors which only rust on the surface, Sprinters’ structural elements tend to rot, too. I guess the reason why you (Robert) don’t see so many Sprinters which are more brown than white is the lack of road salt in OZ. Here, in Poland, if you see a non-rusty used Sprinter, chances are it’s been pimped for further resale just after being imported from Germany or elsewhere, and that it won’t stay that way for long. Yep, they’re that bad.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @ItsMeMartin
        Sprinters are common in Cities. Transits are comparatively rare, have had many problems with rust and reliability problems.
        As a result vast number of other Vans are being used.
        Current favourite is the Hyundai, Renault is becoming much more common.
        Been to Poland, but rusty vehicles like you see in California and the Midwest were not obvious

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Oh come on. The only place in California you see rust on anything is really the Bay Area and places where you get ocean spray. California cars are sought after in the rest of the US because even the cars prone to rust typically don’t because you know, So-Cal is a desert. Also to keep a car on the road there it has to be kept in good running shape. I grew up in Atlanta and nearly every low priced used car had some sort of check engine light. This didn’t fly out in California.

          As to the Midwest, well, yeah, road salt is a thing. My Saturn didn’t because it was plastic and the stuff that was metal was well treated. I am curious how the new F150 will fare. So long as they avoided Toyota’s supplier for the frames they should be OK I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            @Inside Looking Out. I never saw a ton of them in the Bay Area either honestly. I once read a curbside classic or junkyard find column on here once that pointed out a particularly rusty car in a Bay Area wrecking yard that the author felt had likely been parked where they got a ton of salt spray. Some of the commenters agreed it was common so I figured maybe it was an issue. But no, when I was out there in the 90’s I don’t recall a bunch of rusty cars and I spent most of my time in San Diego where nothing rusted so I would have likely noticed them on my trips up there.

            California as a whole has a good population of malaise era Japanese cars that you haven’t seen back East since Reagan’s second term thanks to the tinworm. I want to do a late 70’s Corolla wagon up one day (weird, but the first car I ever rode in) and the only place I ever see them for sale is California.

        • 0 avatar
          PenguinBoy

          I just got back from Australia, where we did an epic 5000+ km roadtrip in a rented campervan based on the current bodystyle Toyota Hiace. Great trip, great country, but the Hiace was a terrible, horrible, nasty conveyance with uncomfortable seats, goofy ergonomics, and an underpowered engine that delivered underwhelming fuel economy. Despite this, we saw them absolutely everywhere being used for all conceivable purposes. My sense was about half the full size vans in Australia were Toyota Hiaces, and about half were all other makes combined. Goes to show how strong the Toyota brand is in Australia. In all fairness, the Hiace is probably reasonably reliable, very durable, and easy to get parts and service for in Australia, so I expect Australians buy them despite their other faults in the same way North Americans buy the out dated but durable Chev Express et. al.

          I don’t recall seeing many rusty vehicles of any kind in Australia, certainly nothing like the rusty old vehicles you see in parts of North America that salt the roads heavily in Winter.

          • 0 avatar

            I live in Bay Area and rust is not a problem here I never seen rusty vehicles. And I know about rust a lot – I lived in Russia.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @PenguinBoy
            US seems to be crawling with Rusty vehicles.A lot would not be allowed on the roads here

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            PenguinBoy,
            Your comment is quite true.

            The Hiace Camper vans are disgusting. They are built on the Hiace mini bus chassis (15 seater).

            These vehicles were designed for very short commutes. Even the SWB Hiace work vans ate only good for city work, ver uncomfortable.

            You hired the wrong tool for the job at hand, like hiring a Jazz to tour around the US.

            Maybe you would of been better off with Ducato RV.

          • 0 avatar
            PenguinBoy

            “Maybe you would of been better off with Ducato RV.”

            Actually, if I were to do a similar trip again I would be inclined to rent a conventional car and stay in hotels, cabins, B&Bs, etc. It would be more comfortable, and the extra cost for accomodation would be offset by the reduced fuel and rental costs.

            That said, if anyone is considering a road trip in Australia, I would recommend the exerience highly. We saw all sorts of interesting things, and drove on everything from single lane dirt back roads to main highways and city streets.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            PenguinBoy,
            We tended to camp when I was living in the Top End.

            Roadhouses are quite comfortable, fuel, restaurant and airconned cabins generally.

            Large towns and cities are really not much different from NA eqyivelants.

            Australia is a huge country. Did you spend a year or two travelling?

            Did you do the northern Outback?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Penguin Boy,
            Your comment relating to not seeing any rusty vehicles in Australia is due to regulatory requirements, vehicle age and warm to hot climate.

            A vehicle will not pass its annual rego inspection with any rust. Rust impacts vehicle safety.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Scoutdude
        We get exactly the same Transit, except they use a 2.2 Diesel instead of the 3.2( used primarily in the Ranger)
        Ford did start importing the Transit like the Transit Connect into the US, but dropped that very quickly and now is only importing or has been importing the Transit Connect and building the full size Transit, in the US.
        We do not get the Transit Connect, but a slightly smaller
        version of the Transit as well as the full size Van
        Called the Transit Custom
        http://www.ford.com.au/commercial/transit-custom

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Ford did start importing the Transit like the Transit Connect into the US,”

          Absolutely false. the Transit has never been officially imported to the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I’m beginning to think that Robert may not know much about the Ford Transit.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Adam Tonge
            Correct,. Ford was going to import both the Transit and Transit Connect, till they could start manufacturing both.Now they still import the Transit Connect. They initially brought some Transits into the US, but thought correctly, they should hold fire,until they could be manufactured in the US
            I wonder why they did not get the Transit Custom instead of the Transit Connect?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No Ford never import the full size Transit of any generation to the US for sale. I’m sure they brought some of the last generation to the US for testing and development purposes, that were never sold to the public.

          The Transit Connect has never been built in the US. They skirted the chicken tax in the early years until customs called BS and they have been paying it ever since. Note they did not bump up the price 25%.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      No rusty Sprinters?
      Visit any town or city in the UK or Ireland and you’ll see plenty of rust scarred Sprinters (they always seem to be white). Fairly recent models too. Climate of mostly rain, plus a lot of salt on the roads from November to March. Seems to have taken the lack-of-weatherproofing baton from the rusty C/E class sedan models of the late 90s-early 2000s.
      Contemporary Transits don’t seem to rust as badly (admittedly, I’m not even a Ford fan) nor do the Fiat-Peugeot-Citroen vans (sold as Ram Promaster in the US now).

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    Without the Chicken Tax, could we see another truly small truck enter the market (or at least be more likely?)

    I am tired of not having the options we once had…

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @CombiCoupe99
      No, they are not really built anymore. At best they are the size of the US Colorado. Can get small car based unibody ” trucks” from Mexico or Brazil.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You won’t see those truly small truck here again, imported or not. Were the chicken tax eliminated, the crash resistance and other safety standards would still prevent them being imported.

      Ford soldiered on with the Ranger until the price tag for compliance became too high. They could build them to meet standards, but not at the price needed to sell them at a profit high enough to recover the engineering costs. Who would pay $30,000 for a basic Ranger? Not as many people as bought a $16,000 Ranger 20 years ago.

      That’s why the Colorado is much larger, and why the Dodge Dakota got larger over time. They’re bigger trucks with the required crash worthiness, you can put more bling on them and hike the price enough to make a profit. FCA is putting a compact AWD truck together and resurrecting the Rampage nameplate for it. That’s about as close as you’ll get, but it won’t be anything like the simple pickup the Ranger was.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “FCA is putting a compact AWD truck together and resurrecting the Rampage nameplate for it.”

        As a rebadged Fiat Toro it won’t be as small as the little trucks of yore but it will be as least as flimsy.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lorenzo,
        Why is it small cars meet crash worthiness?

        The small car based pickups would be no different. I think you will one day see them.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If the tariff encouraged Mercedes to shift production to the US, then that sounds like an advertisement in favor of the tariff.

    In any case, if we’re going to have gripe festivals about tariffs, then it should also be noted that the EU has a 22% tariff on trucks with engines larger than 2.5 liters. Meanwhile, the EU tariff on imported cars is 10%, four times higher than the US’.

    Why are the EU’s tariffs always ignored in these articles? Why should the US reduce its tariffs if the EU won’t reciprocate?

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Why are the EU’s tariffs always ignored in these articles?”

      Because you’re not writing them. You must have enough hobbies.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Good Lord…Makes me wonder what that dude I saw driving a Raptor in Romania paid to get it there. Course they aren’t in the EU but still.

      I knew larger engines paid more road tax over there (again, makes me wonder about that 6.2 in the Romanian Raptor), but I was unaware that there were additional duties on larger engined trucks. I can’t imagine there would be incredible demand for US Full-sized trucks over there (I drove a 70 Cutlass Supreme in Naples Italy and it was miserable due to the hugeness) so this must be to protect vans like the Sprinter or larger trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Makes me wonder what that dude I saw driving a Raptor in Romania paid to get it there.”

        From the way the Romanians I know talk, it probably cost whatever bribe the local official was taking that day.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          That seems probable. It did fit reasonably well on the Bucharest roads though. Bucharest was wide open when compared to most European cities I have been in. Dealing with the government though was about what you’d expect and certainly makes the bribe bit likely.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Then your Pickups cannot be exported, or unique cars. Anyway Mercedes is expanding the market in the US for its products, they are happy.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Well Robert, it could. Granted it would not be the best choice in Naples proper or Rome, but I could have driven it most anywhere else. Naples is a notoriously tight city as it has been continuously inhabited since before the Roman Empire was a thing. One of my apartment’s walls was from a theater that Nero played in for example. Now Bucharest and Romania it would be no issue anywhere I went.

        There are US cities I wouldn’t own my truck in but in Augusta Georgia it is just fine as it is in most places. Ain’t choice grand?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          BYW…The Olds gave way to a Ducati which really was no more practical. I finally settled on a US spec Escort that served me well until I went through a string of BMWs.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Why are the EU’s tariffs always ignored in these articles? Why should the US reduce its tariffs if the EU won’t reciprocate?”

      because the only people who complain about it are American car snobs who whine that it prevents us from getting vehicles here they wouldn’t buy anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @JimZ – Yes,there is this HUGE untapped market for small, cramped, barely room for two adults, gutless pickup trucks.

        Did Vulpine get hit by a pickup crossing the highway?

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Once upon a time the USA had no federal income tax and instead raised the majority of the money to run the federal government primarily through import tariffs and taxes on alcoholic beverages. If you hate paying federal income taxes, you should love import tariffs :).

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Did nobody else notice the buried gem in this article?

    There is finally a new Sprinter coming! Details, please.

    AWD w/o the current 3-4″ lift, please. I’ll be down to order one on Day 1 of Model Year 2.

    Our 2007 diesel Sprinter is an absolute winner for so many things.

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