Lone Sprinter: Daimler to End Freightliner Badge Job

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter commercial van has worn several badges, but come the end of next year, there’ll be only one. As the automaker works to slim down its sprawling global lineup, the lesser-known Freightliner variant will cease production.

Manufactured via knock-down kits in South Carolina, the Freightliner van, like Dodges of yore, will fade to black, but Sprinters will remain in the M-B stable.

As reported by Automotive News, production of the Freightliner Sprinter will end in September 2021. Sales of the model should dry up by the end of next year.

While the Daimler-owned heavy truck brand is vastly more associated with its semis than with its badge-engineered vans, the Sprinter has served Freightliner for three generations. Panel van, passenger wagons, and chassis cab versions can be had by fleet customers, powered by a choice of 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 3.0-liter diesel V6 engines. The last revamp of the Sprinter arrived for the 2019 model year.

The Dodge version of the Sprinter ceased production in 2010.

In a letter sent to dealers and seen by AN, Daimler Vans Vice President Robert Veit said, “The high homologation costs for a single-market, low-volume product as the U.S.-only Freightliner Sprinter brand were central to this decision.”

He added, “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.”

Output at the automaker’s van plant isn’t expected to see much of a decrease, as Mercedes-Benz sold the lion’s share of the Sprinter’s volume, and sales are on the rise.

[Image: Daimler AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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4 of 7 comments
  • Steve Biro Steve Biro on Aug 24, 2020

    I wonder if Freightliner distributors will be able to sell Benz-badged versions of the Sprinter. I also wonder if there are any differences - other than branding - between the Freightliner and MB versions.

  • ScarecrowRepair ScarecrowRepair on Aug 24, 2020

    I knew a guy who put a Peterbilt badge on an old Schwinn mountain bike he had thoroughly modified and repainted. It was amazing how many people believed it.

  • Threeer Threeer on Aug 25, 2020

    Does this mean the Ladson, SC plant is closing? Bummer if it is. We consider the Summerville area “home” and would hate to see any business leave the area...

  • Kosmo Kosmo on Aug 25, 2020

    Yeah, I've got an 07 model that has lived outdoors in the PNW its whole life. Not a spot of rust. The previous version certainly had rust problems.