Mercedes-Benz, one of the oldest vehicle makers on the planet, is rightly known for its broad range of passenger vehicles. Not unsurprisingly, in certain quarters, their commercial vehicles garner just as much acclaim. A well known nameplate for M-B Commercial Vehicles is the Sprinter, a vehicle I have great personal affection for as it’s one of the first vehicles I sold in my car sales career.
In its category, the large van market, the Sprinter has recently been named the number one seller for the seventeenth year in a row, for the Australia/Pacific region. There’d be very few, if any, passenger cars, that can say they’ve the same history. Sprinter first sold in Australia in 1998, with a then reasonable 369 units sold, with 2014 moving 2144 Sprinters, leaving its competitors some distance behind.
It’s not just here that Sprinter has made its mark, with an increase of 16%, worldwide the model has increased by 9%, moving over 294, 000 units worldwide. Sprinter’s variations and reliability have also solidly entrenched the model in the heart and souls of many, including one Australian.
Rewind to 1998, a year that saw Australia realising the new millenium was nearly upon us and businesses were worried about a possible worldwide computer failure called the Y2K bug. Robin Culkin-Lawrence no doubt had this in the back of his mind, thanks to his newly established olive grove and plant growing businesses. Robin was based in a small town in Victoria’s Otway Ranges, Birregurra, and needed a vehicle that was reliable and dependable. Robin purchased one of the 369 Sprinters sold in 1998 and now has a fleet of vehicles, including three Sprinters.
So taken with the three pointed star brand, Robin says: ” “I must admit I think Mercedes-Benz will be part our business for a long time to come.” And of the Sprinter? “”The Sprinter is also better on brakes and terrific on fuel. At the end of the year all this adds up to quite a few extra dollars in our pocket.” Robin’s grown his businesses to the point that Birregurra Olive Grove and Plants Direct Australia now have him not so hands on: “I leave that up to our team. They are up and down the highway at least once a day, doing many miles. As an incentive, staff are allowed to take the vehicles home on the proviso they are washed and cleaned.”
Sprinter continues to make its mark on the Australian market, with a 51% share of the van market in December 2014.