Mercedes-Benz Vans continued its success story of recent years, setting a new record for unit sales in 2016. The division’s earnings also reached an all-time high. Growth was primarily driven by the mid-size segment with the Vito van and the V-Class multipurpose vehicle. The market launches of the V-Class and Vito in China marked new milestones for our “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy. We are continuing to implement this strategy by expanding our product range to include the new X-Class — the world’s first premium pickup. With its future-oriented “adVANce” initiative, Mercedes-Benz Vans is also increasingly transforming itself from a manufacturer of globally successful vans into a provider of holistic system solutions.
New records for unit sales, revenue and EBIT
Mercedes-Benz Vans set a new sales record once again in financial year 2016, with an increase of 12 % to 359,100 units. At €12.8 billion, revenue was also significantly higher than in the previous year (2015: €11.5 billion). EBIT rose by 33 % to the new record level of €1,170 million.
C.05 Mercedes-Benz Vans
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||9.1||7.7||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||373||202||+85|
|Research and development expenditure||442||384||+15|
|Employees (December 31)||24,029||22,639||+6|
C.06 Unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans
|thereof United States||33,749||32,376||+4|
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||12,497||15,750||-21|
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ products remained very successful in financial year 2016. Our Sprinter, Vito and Citan vans are mainly tailored to commercial customers, while the V-Class is designed primarily for private use.
Unit sales in the EU30 region, our most important market, rose by 13 % to 249,900 vans in the year under review. Particularly significant increases were recorded in Italy (+46 %), the Netherlands (+27 %), Austria (+27 %), Sweden (+21 %), Spain (+20 %) and Poland (+26 %), and Mercedes-Benz Vans posted strong growth also in several key European volume markets. In Germany, we set a new sales record with 96,100 units (2015: 88,400). In the United Kingdom, we increased unit sales by 4 % to 36,700 vehicles. However, unit sales declined significantly in Russia (-15 %) and Turkey (-7 %).
At the same time, Mercedes-Benz Vans continued to grow in the NAFTA region, where sales rose sharply to 43,400 units (2015: 40,500). We set a new sales record with 33,700 units (2015: 32,400) in the United States, where the new Metris also contributed to our sales success.
The market environment in Latin America remained difficult during the year under review. Sales in the region fell by 21 % to 12,500 units. Sales in China rose by 90 % following the successful launch of our new vehicles in the mid-size segment.
We sold a total of 193,400 units of the Sprinter worldwide in 2016 (2015: 194,200). Sales of vehicles in the mid-size segment were significantly higher than in the previous year, totaling 140,800 units in the year under review (2015: 105,100). Sales of Vito models for commercial use rose by 24 % to 92,100 vehicles, while sales of the Mercedes-Benz Citan reached 24,900 units (2015: 21,700). The V-Class multipurpose vehicle remains very popular with our customers; sales of the model rose by 58 % to 48,700 units in the year under review.
Three million units of the iconic van sold to date:
ongoing success of the Sprinter
Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved yet another milestone with its successful Sprinter van in March. Since the model’s launch in 1995, we have delivered three million units of the “global van” to customers. The large van is now on the road in more than 130 countries. The milestone Sprinter was transformed into a HYMER ML-T premium camper van by Hymer, a Mercedes-Benz Vans bodybuilder partner. The camper van segment is becoming increasingly important for Mercedes-Benz Vans, and the Sprinter is already the number one high-end comfort camper van. It is also increasingly in demand as the base vehicle for partially and fully integrated camper vans.
The three-millionth Sprinter rolled off the line at our Ludwigsfelde plant, which is one of six Sprinter manufacturing facilities worldwide. Ludwigsfelde is also the third-largest van plant in our international production network, and the only European manufacturing facility that builds the open versions of the Sprinter (flatbed trucks and chassis) for use with a wide variety of body types. In February 2016, the plant had its 25th anniversary as a successful manufacturing location for Mercedes-Benz Vans in the former East Germany. A total of more than 700,000 vans were built in Ludwigsfelde between 1991 and the end of 2016.
Our Sprinter remains extremely popular around the world, and especially in North America. So that we can supply customers in North America with the next-generation Sprinter more rapidly and in a more individualized and economical manner in the future, we are currently building a new production plant in North Charleston, South Carolina in the United States. We broke ground for the new facility in July 2016. Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing roughly half a billion dollars in the new van plant and will create up to 1,300 new jobs there.
We are working continually to increase the appeal of the Sprinter for our customers. In April, for example, Mercedes-Benz Vans presented a Sprinter with a higher gross vehicle weight and two new entry-level engine options. The new variant of our bestselling van now has a GVW of up to 5.5 metric tons, which makes it even more attractive to bodybuilders and vehicle conversion specialists. The new entry-level engines have an output of 84 kW/114 hp (fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 11.0–10.8 / extra-urban 7.1–6.9 / combined 8.6–8.4; CO2 emissions in g/km: combined 224–219) and 105 kW/143 hp (fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 10.0–9.8 / extra-urban 7.2–7.1 / combined 8.3–8.1; CO2 emissions in g/km: combined 218–213).
V-Class variety: a sportier and more luxurious multipurpose vehicle
At the beginning of 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans expanded the wide range of optional equipment for the V-Class once again. With the introduction of the V-Class AMG Line, the multipurpose vehicle now features prominent design elements from the Mercedes-AMG high-performance and sports car brand. The V-Class EXCLUSIVE boasts a broad range of exclusive equipment that raises the style, comfort and functionality of the V-Class to an even higher level.
Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global: mid-size portfolio now successful also in China
With the launch of the V-Class multipurpose vehicle and the Vito van in China, we have taken another major step forward with our “Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global” growth strategy. Customer deliveries of the V-Class in China began in the spring of 2016, with the Vito following in the fall. As a result, we now offer our complete mid-size vehicle program in the world’s biggest automotive market. Both vehicles are “made in China for China” and manufactured by our local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC) in Fuzhou.
Our plant in Vitoria, Spain, is also benefiting from the huge global demand for the V-Class and the Vito. In response to the tremendous sales success enjoyed by the two models, Mercedes-Benz Vans created additional capacity in Vitoria by introducing a third shift at the plant in October. A total of approximately €260 million has been invested in the production of the current generations of the two models in Vitoria.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is coming: the world’s first premium pickup for urban lifestyles
With the presentation of two design variants of its Concept X-CLASS in October 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans provided a clear preview of the world’s first premium pickup — the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. Our pickup will reflect the core Mercedes values in terms of everything from brand-typical design and comfort to handling and safety. We will thus become the first premium manufacturer to take into account changing customer requirements in the global growth segment for mid-size pickups. As a result, the tough one metric-ton model with seating for up to five persons will be the first pickup capable of attracting interest as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle. The X-Class will thus close one of the last gaps in the Mercedes-Benz vehicle lineup. The model will initially be launched in Europe in late 2017. It will then be launched in other core markets such as Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in 2018.
Concept X-CLASS: The Mercedes among pickups #MBPickup – Mercedes-Benz original
Mercedes-Benz Vans is a leader in the transformation of the transportation sector
Mercedes-Benz Vans presented its adVANce strategic initiative in September 2016. The division is thus systematically focusing on new, quickly changing customer needs. By 2020, we will have invested some €500 million in digitization, automation and robotics for vans, as well as in innovative mobility solutions. As a result, Mercedes-Benz Vans be transformed from a manufacturer of globally successful vans into a provider of holistic system solutions. These solutions have the potential to make the transportation of goods and passengers even more efficient. They also offer our customers economic benefits and completely new business opportunities. The all-electric and thus locally emission-free “Vision Van” concept vehicle, which was also presented in September, features a fully automatic cargo area and integrated delivery drones, thus embodying the holistic approach we are employing with adVANce. Mercedes-Benz Vans has also announced plans to once again begin series production of a battery-electric van in 2018. Back in 2011, Mercedes-Benz Vans became the first manufacturer to produce an electric van in series production — the Vito E-Cell.
World premiere of the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van Research Vehicle
The first concrete measures implemented within the framework of adVANce were the launch of the new Mercedes PRO service brand and the establishment of Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH. With Mercedes PRO, Mercedes-Benz Vans is enabling the seamless and efficient integration of numerous service and mobility solutions, and thus setting the standard for services for commercial van customers. The first half of 2017 will see the launch of the Mercedes PRO connect innovative connectivity solution for vehicle fleets. In addition, Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH offers holistic mobility services and flexible solutions for the van segment as of 2017.