Mercedes-Benz Vans continued on its successful course of recent years, with a new record for unit sales in 2017. At €1.2 billion, EBIT remained at the high level of the previous year. Growth was mainly driven by the mid-size segment with the Vito van and the V-Class full-size MPV. We continued our “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy by expanding our product range to include the X-Class — the first pickup from a premium manufacturer. Mercedes-Benz Vans’ future-oriented “adVANce” initiative delivered its first concrete results, and the division is systematically forging ahead with its transformation from a vehicle manufacturer into a supplier of transportation and mobility solutions for cargo and passengers. Among other things, Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to electrify its commercial fleet, beginning with the Vito in the second half of 2018.
New record for unit sales
Mercedes-Benz Vans set a new sales record once again in financial year 2017, with an increase of 12 % to 401,000 units. At €13.2 billion, revenue was also higher than in the previous year (2016: €12.8 billion). EBIT reached €1,181 million and was thus at the high prior-year level.
C.05 Mercedes-Benz Vans
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||9.0||9.1||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||710||373||+90|
|Research and development expenditure||565||442||+28|
|Employees (December 31)||25,255||24,029||+5|
C.06 Unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans
|thereof United States||34,158||33,749||+1|
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||16,378||12,497||+31|
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ products remained very successful in financial year 2017. Our Sprinter, Vito and Citan vans are tailored mainly to commercial customers, while the V-Class is designed primarily for private use. The X-Class is targeted at a variety of private and commercial customers.
Unit sales in the EU30 region, our core market, rose by 9 % to 273,300 vans in the year under review. The markets grew at double-digit rates for example in the United Kingdom (+12 %), Spain (+10 %), Italy (+13 %), Poland (+17 %), Switzerland (+10 %) and Austria (+14 %). Mercedes-Benz Vans posted substantial growth (+10 %) also in its important German market. We also set a new record in Germany of 105,800 units sold (2016: 96,100). Unit sales developed favorably also in Turkey (+14 %) and Russia (+6 %).
Mercedes-Benz Vans continued to grow also in the NAFTA region, where sales rose to 44,800 units (2016: 43,400). This included a new record of 34,200 units sold in the United States (2016: 33,700).
Sales developed very favorably in Latin America, increasing significantly by 31 % to 16,400 units. Sales in China once again rose sharply (+75 %) compared with the prior year, driven by the new models launched in the mid-size segment in 2016.
We sold a total of 200,500 units of the Sprinter worldwide in 2017 (2016: 193,400), which was the last full year of the current model’s life cycle. The successor generation of the Sprinter is already set for market launch in the first half of 2018. Sales of vehicles in the mid-size segment were significantly higher than in the previous year, totaling 171,100 units in 2017 (2016: 140,800). Sales also rose in the commercial segment, with Vito sales increasing significantly by 21 % to 111,800 vehicles. Meanwhile, sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan reached 26,100 units (2016: 24,900). Sales of the V-Class full size MPV rose by 22 % to 59,300 units in the year under review. The X-Class also got off to a good start at the end of the year, with sales totaling 3,300 units.
Mercedes-Benz Vans invests in its future
Mercedes-Benz Vans is continuing the successful implementation of its “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy. At the same time, we have laid the foundation for further growth in the future. Building on its strong position, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced in February 2017 that it would invest a total of over €2.0 billion in 2017 and 2018 alone. This money is being used to expand and update the division’s product range and to establish new services. The investments particularly focus on the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the new Sprinter, as well as on innovative holistic solutions for the vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class
Mercedes-Benz Vans has been delivering the new X-Class, the first pickup from a premium automaker, to customers in Europe since late 2017. South Africa and Australia will follow in early 2018 and we plan to launch the model in Argentina and Brazil in 2019. The mid-size pickup segment is global in scope, is a volume market and is set to grow further. The X-Class has room for up to five people. It augments the strengths of a mid-size pickup with the typical properties of the Mercedes-Benz brand: dynamic handling, comfort, great design, high safety, good connectivity and a comprehensive range of customization options. Customers can choose between three variants, rear-wheel drive, engageable all-wheel drive or permanent all-wheel drive (permanent all-wheel drive as of mid-2018), a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission, and a diverse range of accessories developed by Mercedes-Benz.
The new Mercedes-Benz X-Class: “First Contact” | Product Film
Preview of the new Sprinter: The transformation of a vehicle into an integrated system solution
Mercedes-Benz Vans will launch the new Sprinter in Europe in the second quarter of 2018, with other markets to follow successively. The division already announced specific details of the new full-size van in 2017. The new Sprinter will be fully connected in order to be a part of the Internet of things. In addition, the vehicle’s unique scalability, electric drive system and customized hardware solutions for the cargo space, as well as a combination of van-sharing and rental services, will make it the first integrated system solution from Mercedes-Benz Vans. These innovations are integrated solely on the basis of each customer’s sector-specific needs, and they significantly ease the daily work of drivers and fleet managers.
Check your fleet with Mercedes Pro Connect
Mercedes-Benz Vans is the only manufacturer of full-size vans that continues to produce in Germany. In this context, Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing a total of €450 million in the lead plant of the global Sprinter production network in Düsseldorf, and in the Sprinter plant in Ludwigsfelde. The battery-electric Sprinter will be produced in Düsseldorf, and this location will serve as the global competence center for the electric-drive Sprinter. In 2017, the plant in González Catán near Buenos Aires, Argentina, also began making preparations for production of the new Sprinter. The division will invest US$150 million in this facility and will create more than 500 additional jobs there. At the same time, construction of the new Sprinter plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, continues to progress. Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing roughly half a billion dollars in the new plant and will create up to 1,300 jobs there.
New HORIZON added to the Marco Polo family
In January 2017, Mercedes-Benz Vans added a new member to its range of compact camper vans. Following the Marco Polo and the Marco Polo ACTIVITY, our product range is now supplemented by the new Marco Polo HORIZON. Thanks to its versatile seating configuration offering up to seven seats and five beds, the Marco Polo HORIZON combines maximum functionality with the high-quality design of the V-Class. The compact new camper van from Mercedes-Benz is geared toward trend-conscious adventurers who are looking for a versatile and functional vehicle for short vacation trips and outdoor activities, but also appreciate a stylish image.
Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo HORIZON EDITION: Stylish Adventurer
Full speed ahead: first concrete results of the future-oriented “adVANce” initiative
With its future-oriented “adVANce” initiative, Mercedes-Benz Vans is evolving from a manufacturer of globally successful vans into a provider of holistic system solutions for the transportation of goods and passengers. The division is thus playing a pioneering role in its sector. We aim to develop new business models and tailored solutions that are adapted to our customers’ respective sectors.
In November 2017, Mercedes-Benz Vans provided information on its plans to offer all of its commercial van models with electric drive systems. This has already started with the mid-size eVito, which has been available to order since the announcement was made. Deliveries of the eVito will begin in the second half of 2018, followed by the eSprinter in 2019. The product range will be rounded out by the Citan. The electric-drive strategy of Mercedes-Benz Vans focuses not only on the electric van itself, but also on a technological ecosystem that is optimally aligned with customers’ business needs. Here, the division is taking a holistic approach based on five pillars (“Holistic Ecosystem,” “Sector Focus,” “Cost Effectiveness,” “Co-Creation” and “Technology Transfer”) in order to create an innovative integrated system solution. This solution covers the entire value chain for commercial applications. Customer co-creation plays a key role in product development, so strategic partners and their sector expertise are being incorporated into the development process.
Mercedes-Benz: Vans & Drones | The Future of Transport
Hermes, a provider of logistics services, is a good example of that. In early 2018, Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans will launch the partnership they agreed upon in the spring of 2017 with a pilot phase in Hamburg and Stuttgart. After the projects are completed, we will expand the electric fleet to a total of 1,500 electric Vito and Sprinter vans by 2020, and launch it for parcel deliveries in other metropolitan areas. The strategic partnership also involves the joint development of a concept for an efficient charging infrastructure at Hermes logistics centers, as well as IT services to ensure optimal management of the electric fleet. The two partners also plan to develop integrated system solutions to boost the efficiency of the entire delivery process. They are also working together to create additional efficiency drivers, such as intelligent systems for the cargo space that will enable the vehicle to be loaded and unloaded faster.
In July 2017, Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH launched its first mobility service in the German market. Called Mercedes-Benz Van Rental, this innovative and highly flexible rental service from the Daimler subsidiary is mainly targeted at commercial van customers. In addition, Mercedes-Benz Vans is entering the business of shared mobility and ride sharing. To this end, the Vans division teamed up with the successful US startup Via to create the ViaVan joint venture for the European market. The new ridesharing service will be launched in a major European city in early 2018. After that, the service will be gradually expanded to other cities.
Shared Mobility: „VIA“ – innovative ridesharing
Mercedes-Benz Vans is also studying new delivery models, including the combination of vans and drones. For example, the division cooperated with the US drone system developer Matternet and the Swiss online marketplace siroop to run a three-week pilot project in Zürich during the year under review. The project involved the use of vans and drones for the efficient on-demand delivery of e-commerce products.