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Master Tradesmen Give Sprinter and Vito Thumbs Up

19 August, 2004

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A jury of experienced master tradesmen have given a double victory to the Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter in the 2004/2005 Commercial Vehicle Awards.

An award ceremony to acknowledge the victors will be held at September’s International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany.

The 19 tradesman voted the Mercedes-Benz Vito the winner in the van class up to 3 tonnes gross vehicle weight and the Sprinter in the class up to 3.5 tonnes.

During a busy test weekend, tradesmen who had applied to join the 2004/2005 Commercial Vehicle Awards jury as readers of the tradesmen's publications "Handwerkmagazin" and "Deutsche Handwerks Zeitung" by Holzmann, tested a total of 20 vehicles. These were ten vans with a gross vehicle weight of 3 tonnes and ten with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes.

As in previous tests, the first day was devoted to a stationary assessment, and specifically the driver’s cab and load compartment. The aspects assessed included the entry, user-friendliness and stowage facilities, as well as the payload, trailer load and cargo capacity. Both vans came away with a victory in these respects, with the Vito's cab scoring particularly well in the criteria of quality and finish, driver’s seat and instruments/controls. With respect to the load compartment, it also scored well for load securing features and – once again – for quality and finish.

A practical test drive was scheduled for the next day. Each tester covered a fixed route with each vehicle, subsequently assessing the engine performance, handling, safety aspects, ease of maintenance and price/benefit ratio of each. Here the Vito achieved high scores in handling safety/cornering/directional stability, safety features and quality/finish. The strengths of the Sprinter were similarly appreciated, and earned particular praise in the categories of safety features, finish, quality and handling safety, but also for its service and oil-change intervals.

“The Sprinter and Vito are tried and tested by customers every day on Australian roads, so it’s no surprise that when master tradesmen put the vehicles through their paces and compare them to the competition, the Sprinter and Vito come out ahead,” said Campbell York, the head of the Mercedes-Benz light commercial vehicle team at DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific.

New Mercedes-Benz Vito wins at the first attempt

The new Vito took part in this award contest for the first time, and won at the first attempt. Its strength is its great versatility. Since the new Vito was introduced in April 2004, the Mercedes-Benz Vito has firmly established itself in the Australian van market.

The class leading Mercedes-Benz Vito both posted impressive sales gains last month with 170 units delivered in Australia, an improvement of 30 per cent compared to the previous year. It achieved its best sales last month since release, representing 146 units of the total 170 Vito sales. Since introduction, sales of the new Vito have lived up to the market positioning “nothing fits your business better”, with 446 units delivered nationally in less than four months.

The German Commercial Vehicle Awards are organised by the Holzmann publishing house - under the aegis of the Federal Minister of Transport - every two years to coincide with the International Commercial Vehicle Fair (IAA) in Hanover. This year they will be presented at the fair on September 24 by Prof. Bernd Gottschalk, President of the VDA (Association of German Automobile Manufacturers).

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