Future Initiative adVANce: First Results: Mercedes-Benz Vans delivers: premiere for new service brand, innovative services and series production of van with e-drive
- Mercedes PRO: new web-based service offer for commercial van customers
- Mercedes PRO connect: innovative connectivity services for van fleets of all sizes
- Founding of Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH: comprehensive mobility offer and flexible solutions for commercial van customers
- Electric van with newly developed powertrain: in series production from 2018
- Vehicle innovations: Sprinter with 5.5 t payload, Vito with panoramic roof, Citan with dual clutch transmission for diesel
Hannover – Soon after the introduction of its strategic initiative adVANce, Mercedes-Benz Vans emphasises its customer-focused transformation from a pure van manufacturer into a supplier of holistic system solutions and its high innovative power with various attractive innovations at this year's IAA. The new service brand Mercedes PRO, which bundles professional services on a digital platform, will launch in the first half of 2017 with an innovative connectivity solution (Mercedes PRO connect). Forward-looking and flexible offers guaranteeing the short- and long-term mobility of the van sector will be developed by the newly founded Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH, which will likewise enter the market next year. Finally, 2018 will see the start of series production of a Mercedes-Benz van with e-drive for commercial customers. This van will meet every expectation of an efficient delivery vehicle. The broad spectrum of IAA innovations from Mercedes-Benz Vans is rounded off by the updated Sprinter, Vito and Citan van models, which already enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2015.
In the current fiscal year Mercedes-Benz Vans is continuing along the road to success. In the first half of 2016, global unit sales increased by 21 percent to a record level of more than 176 200 units compared to last year’s period. EBIT was up by 56 percent (approximately 702 million euros). This trend also continued in the summer months. In the first eight months of 2016, global unit sales increased again by a total of 21 percent. "With the best half-year and best and strongest portfolio of vans in our corporate history, we're ideally placed to refocus Mercedes-Benz Vans with our strategic initiative adVANce and make it fully fit for the challenges of the future. Already now in Hanover, we are introducing our customers to many new offers with which they can make their transport processes more efficient, faster and more sustainable", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
From vehicle manufacturer to supplier of system solutions
At this year's IAA in Hanover, Mercedes-Benz Vans gives a comprehensive outlook on the future of its business activities. The focus is on the strategic initiative adVANce, with which Mercedes-Benz Vans transforms itself from a pure vehicle manufacturer into a supplier of customer-focused system solutions for the transport industry. Systematically geared to the mega trends and challenges of the future, adVANce is concentrated on three fields of innovation: digital@vans, solutions@vans and mobility@vans.
The field digital@vans deals with connectivity and the integration of state-of-the-art technologies into vans. With solutions@vans, Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing, among other things, intelligent hardware and software solutions which make the work of van customers easier and more efficient. The focus of mobility@vans is on intelligent concepts for the transport of goods and people.
"Against the background of urbanisation and digitalisation, the transport of the future needs to be made more intelligent, flexible and sustainable", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "This is made possible by the interconnection of innovative technologies using the Internet of Things. In future customers will need more than a van on four wheels. They'll need intelligent system solutions precisely tailored to their needs."
With the spectacular show car Vision Van, an automated, intelligent van with e-drive for efficient last-mile deliveries, Mercedes-Benz Vans presents a van study as a physical expression of its adVANce strategy. As a holistic system, the Vision Van integrates a multiplicity of innovative technologies and thus sets the standard of performance requirements and solutions for future generations of vans. It is the world's first van to serve as a holistic concept for a completely digitally connected process chain from the goods distribution depot to the consignee.
The Vision Van features a fully automated cargo space, integrated drones for autonomous air deliveries and state-of-the-art joystick control. The combination of a cloud-based control software with optimum hardware yields substantial time and efficiency benefits and raises the quality and flexibility of delivery services in the urban environment to a new level.
Van with e-drive from 2018
"The future of urban deliveries will be electric. We at Mercedes-Benz Vans are convinced of this", stresses Volker Mornhinweg. "That's why we will start with the series production of a commercial van with e-drive in 2018." The all-electric powertrain will be developed in-house and will be tailored to various application areas and the needs of customers who use their vehicles for urban deliveries. In line with customer requirements, different battery loading systems and a scalable battery size will be on offer. When it comes to the total cost of ownership, this e-drive will be an alternative to combustion in certain use cases.
As early as 2011, Mercedes-Benz Vans emerged as a pioneer of e-mobility when, with the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, it became the first manufacturer to bring out an all-electric series-produced van. Production was discontinued because of a lack of demand.
Mercedes PRO: central online access to services
The newly founded service brand Mercedes PRO raises the bar for commercial van customer service and tailored customer care. Bundling all existing and future service offers surrounding the business environment of van customers, Mercedes PRO allows the seamless and efficient integration of numerous service and mobility areas.
An online platform will bring together existing systems and services, but also newly developed applications for everyday business activities. Customers will have a single point of access to these tailor-made and comprehensive transport solutions from Mercedes-Benz Vans. The digital platform will go online in the first half of 2017. It will be accessible using a personalised Mercedes ID at www.mercedes.pro. Over time the offering will be gradually enhanced and feature new connectivity, mobility and transport solutions as well as fleet and holistic system solutions well beyond classic van requirements.
Mercedes PRO connect will be the first service offer to be launched on the market in the first half of 2017. The innovative connectivity solution is designed for vehicle fleets in small companies as well as large fleets. With this web-based service offer, the fleet manager is constantly linked via the vehicle management tool with all vehicles and drivers. The fleet manager can manage orders online and also query at any time the location, fuel level, maintenance interval and other vehicle information in real time. The driver communicates with the fleet manager via the Driver's App on his mobile device. Mercedes PRO connect will thus open up the potential for cost savings, enhance sustainability and safety in vehicle operation, and increase the availability of vehicles. Mercedes PRO connect will include ten different services.
Comprehensive mobility offer for the van sector
Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH has been newly founded to develop and commercialise innovative, van-specific mobility services. The company, which, from mid-2017, will provide a comprehensive mobility offer for the van sector, is responding to the constantly growing demand for flexible and innovative vehicle-use concepts. This means that, in future, all services in this area will be bundled under one roof in order to be able to meet the specific needs of customers with appropriate concepts from a single source. The services will cover innovative van-sharing, rental, leasing and fleet management models developed for the entire Mercedes-Benz Vans model range – including numerous tailor-made equipment and body solutions.
As an independent company based in Berlin, Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH enjoys great flexibility in the marketplace. It operates under Daimler Financial Services AG, the mobility service provider of Daimler AG, which, with products such as car2go, moovel and Mercedes-Benz Rent, has considerable know-how in the area of mobility services and will enable corresponding synergies.
"The demand for flexible and tailor-made vehicle-use concepts is constantly growing in comparison to traditional purchasing and financing models. Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH will be the first provider to focus exclusively on solutions tailored to the needs of van customers. We aim to become the number one address for innovative mobility services for these customers", says Klaus Entenmann, CEO of Daimler Financial Services AG.
Three successful models with product innovations
The basis for the successful transformation is, of course, provided by Mercedes-Benz Vans' three successful van models, which are continuously expanded and further developed.
A van with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 5.5 t has been added to the already diverse portfolio of the successful Sprinter. This means that the Sprinter's varied weight variants now cover a broad range from a gross vehicle weight of 3.0 t to 5.5 t. Extending the portfolio entails an increase of almost half a tonne in the maximum payload of the panel van. This takes the load capacity of the van to a record level in this weight class.
The hugely versatile Mercedes-Benz Vito impresses in the class with a permissible gross vehicle weight of around 3.0 t. The Vito is the first and only vehicle in its class to be available with a choice of rear-wheel, all-wheel or front-wheel drive. In particular, the Vito with front-wheel drive represents exceptionally good value for money. It is now also possible to obtain the Vito Mixto and Tourer models with sliding windows in the centre. The long variant of the Tourer is now optionally available with an attractive panoramic roof.
There is also news on the Citan: following on from the petrol-engined Citan 112, the Citan 111 CDI will be optionally available with a 6G-DCT dual clutch transmission from 2017. This six-speed unit combines the economy of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic. The driver's work is also made easier by a crawl function and a start-off assist. Although it already has a distinctive and attractive look, the Citan can now be further enhanced with new equipment packages: the Exterior Off-Road Styling package (Offroad-Optik Paket Exterieur), the Exterior Dynamic package by Hartmann (Dynamic Paket Exterieur by Hartmann) and the Colour Interior Design package (Design-Paket Interieur Color).