The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a light commercial vehicle (van) built by Daimler AG of Stuttgart, Germany as a van, chassis cab, minibus, and pickup truck. In the past the Sprinter has been sold under the Mercedes-Benz, Dodge, Freightliner, and Volkswagen nameplates. In the U.S. it is built from complete knock down (CKD) kits by Freightliner. They are now primarily marketed by Mercedes-Benz. Rebadged and re-engined Sprinters were also sold by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as the Volkswagen LT and the Volkswagen Crafter.
The second generation Sprinter was introduced in Europe in 2006. It was voted Van of the Year 2007 and again in 2008 by Professional Van and Light Truck Magazine. 2012 Information and Fuel Consumption Figures.
Also known as the NCV3 or New Concept Van 3. The NCV3 appeared in Europe and in other countries in the 2006 model year. North America received its own NCV3 for the 2007 model year.
The US cargo version of the 906 NCV3 comes in two wheelbases options (144", 170"), two roof heights (standard 60.6", high 72.4"), three lengths (Short 233.3", Standard 274.2, Extended 289.8"), and two weight classes (2500, 3500) where the 3500's have the option of dual rear wheels or rear super singles. Neither the 128in wheelbase nor the rear super single tires are available in the United States market. The US cargo version are reassembled from kits in an assembly plant located in Ladson, South Carolina, while the passenger models are imported directly from Germany.
The second-generation 906 was produced in Argentina only for export markets—except Mercosur markets (Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay)—from 2007 until 2010, but in 2011 announced new production of the second generation in the Centro Industrial J. Manuel Fangio, in Buenos Aires with the brand new OM 651 engine (also local made) and exported to the rest of America (including Mercosur markets). Since 2012, it is manufactured for the Mercosur and 40 other countries
The Sprinter is designed primarily for business, not private users, although recreational vehicle (RV) conversions are available. In the United States, the first generation Sprinters (2001–2006) were offered solely with the Mercedes-Benz 2.7 litre straight five cylinder turbocharged Diesel.
Companies are replacing van conversions with wide bus bodies—Sprinters with side-facing benches and tall right-side doors—as campus shuttles. Limited numbers of complete "wagons" (passenger vans) are being produced in Germany and shipped complete to the United States mostly for personal and church van uses. Typical Sprinter Wagons accommodate 8 to 10 passengers and have glass in all possible factory positions. Vans shipped to the United States on-spec (speculation to sell by dealer/distributor) are mostly sent in Arctic White color, but many colors are available. The Dodge dealer network for Sprinters is limited to certified locations (known as "Business Link" certified dealers, usually only awarded to "Five Star" certified dealers), and dealer knowledge is still limited in both sales and service. Special orders typically take one to three months for delivery, and may take even longer due to the assembly and dis-assembly in Germany, and exporting parts to South Carolina for re-assembly. The exception is passenger van models which are assembled in Germany and exported as complete vehicles.
In North America, most Sprinters are sold as cargo vans to expediters in the United States. Such expediters are similar to truck drivers, except they take smaller loads and will wait after unloading until dispatchers find another customer nearby to transport goods. The advent of the Sprinter van with its cargo space of 13-1/2 feet (4.1 m) has allowed van expediters to take three 48 x 48 in (1.22 x 1.22 m) skids or pallets, where previously they were limited to a capacity of two pallets A Sprinter is capable of hauling approximately 3000 lb (1360 kg) of cargo. The vehicle has been adopted by the police in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and in Poland, also and as an ambulance by countries in Western Europe, Scandinavia, the US, Australia and New Zealand. The 515 CDI has become the standard ambulance for use by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom.
Another market in which Sprinters are gaining ground is as van conversions and recreational vehicles. Conversions include RV's, limousines, family and luxury vans, office vans, wheelchair accessible vans and golf vans. Sprinter RV conversions can also be called Sprinter campervans. Sprinter conversions have been produced by several RV and coach manufacturers. Chilled box versions of the Sprinter currently make up the majority of the supermarket Home Delivery fleet across the UK, but demand for these vans has begun to decline. ASDA recently announced that its new fleet would be primarily custom IVECO vans, following in the footsteps of Tesco. Mercedes are currently working with Waitrose Home Delivery, who currently use chilled LWB HR Sprinters, on a prototype of a new generation home-delivery van, which is currently being used in select stores, aiming to cut emissions, costs and increase time-efficiency.
Sprinters have been used globally as television production vehicles, most commonly as ENG (Electronic News Gathering) and SNG (Satellite News Gathering) vehicles. These are a popular choice for local affiliates for their maneuverability in metropolitan areas and the lack of DOT regulations (in the under 10,000lbs versions)
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 initially to supply solid rubber side-wire tires for fire apparatus, and later, pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles, and the company was a pioneer in the mass production of tires. Harvey Firestone had a personal friendship with Henry Ford, and used this to become the original equipment supplier of Ford Motor Company automobiles, and was also active in the replacement market.
In 1988, the company was sold to the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation.
Firestone was originally based in Akron, Ohio, also the hometown of its archrival, Goodyear, and two other midsized competitors, General Tire and Rubber and BFGoodrich. Founded on August 3, 1900, the company initiated operations with 12 employees. Together, Firestone and Goodyear were the largest suppliers of automotive tires in North America for over 75 years. In 1906, Henry Ford chose Firestone to supply tires for its car models.
In 1918, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Canada was incorporated in Hamilton, Ontario, and the first Canadian-made tire rolled off the line on September 15, 1922. During the 1920s, Firestone produced the Oldfield tire, named for racing driver Barney Oldfield.
In 1926, the company opened one of the world's biggest rubber plantations in Liberia, West Africa, spanning more than one million acres (1,560 sq mi; 4,050 km2). Also that year, the company opened its first Firestone Tire and Service Center (later renamed Firestone Complete Auto Care). Firestone Complete Auto Care is the division of Firestone that offers automotive maintenance and repair, including tires.
In 1927, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone took a trip to southern California to select locations for their new factories. Friends say Ford wanted to be near the ocean and picked Long Beach and suggested Firestone go to South Gate. The tiny community southeast of downtown Los Angeles was mostly agricultural at the time and Firestone found 40 acres (16 ha) of beanfield to house his new manufacturing plant. Architects Curlett and Beelman created a spectacular four-story Italianate complex, with its own power plant and gorgeous polychrome murals by Gladding, McBean depicting the tire and rubber-making process. A year after the plant opened in 1928, it doubled in size, and grew to nearly one million square feet (23 acres; 9.3 ha) by 1954. The town grew around Firestone, its main boulevard was named after Harvey, and Los Angeles became the number one tire market in the country. By the mid-1970s, Ford and GM had massive layoffs as Firestone and other manufacturers opened new plants in non-union locales like Wilson, North Carolina. After considerable downsizing, the end at South Gate came in 1980 when 1,300 workers were laid off and the plant closed. East Los Angeles College has proposed a new satellite campus at the site.
In 1928, the company built a factory in Brentford, England, a longtime Art Deco landmark on a major route into the city; this closed in 1979.
In 1936, the company opened a plant in Memphis, Tennessee. With a work force exceeding 3,000 employees, the Memphis plant was the largest tire manufacturer in the company's worldwide operation. On July 1, 1963, the company celebrated the production of 100 million tires in Memphis. The plant was closed in 1982.
On October 11, 1941, the Firestone Rubber and Latex plant in Fall River Mass had 5 out of 8 buildings and at least 15,000 tons of rubber destroyed by fire. The fire incurred $12 million in damage ($205 million in 2019 dollars).
During World War II, the company was called on by the U.S. Government to make artillery shells, aluminum kegs for food transport, and rubberized military products. Barrage balloons were produced at Akron. Firestone ranked 55th among U.S. corporations in the value of wartime military production contracts. In the 1940s, Firestone was given a defense contract to produce plastic helmet liners; while outproduced by Westinghouse Electric, they still made a fair amount for the M1 Helmet.