50 years of MercedesBenz vans

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Mercedes 407 cama

50 years of Mercedes-Benz vans

50 of Mercedes-Benz vans

Sprinter: all best-seller with 1.3 million sold

Mercedes-Benz Vans now leader in Europe

More 4.5 million vans built in 50

Started with L 319 in autumn at the IAA show

Hanomag vehicle was for second model series

MB 100 D and light vans made in

Three model series all today’s requirements

Stuttgart, Dec 16,

The past 50 years have the development of three major series with a total of ten ranges, countless variants and a volume of more than 4.5 vehicles – vans exemplify long-standing tradition and outstanding at Mercedes-Benz. It is not for nothing that the bearing the three-pointed star the field in this segment. 50 ago, the then Daimler-Benz AG its first modern van, the L at the IAA show. It signalled the start of a story that continues to be to this day. Now, a century later, Mercedes-Benz three attractive model to meet van customers’ diverse

Karl Benz and Gottlieb built the forerunners of the van

There is a to what began 50 years Karl Benz and Gottlieb who, in quick succession and of one another, invented the motor the bus and the truck, were responsible for the forerunners of modern vans over 100 years ago. In Benz presented his combination vehicle and, one year Daimler revealed his business Both vehicles would be classified as vans. In 1927, the joint truck range by the recently founded Daimler-Benz AG the L1 light truck with 3.5 t vehicle weight. The legendary Lo with 5 t gross vehicle was launched in 1932 and was also a of the vans of the 21st century – as was the L a few years later.

1955: presents its first modern the L 319

Facing difficult conditions in the of the Second World War, mobilised all its resources to modernise its of light and heavy trucks. the early period of the Wirtschaftswunder miracle), however, there was a demand in trade and industry for commercial vehicles. Daimler-Benz by presenting its first true van at the IAA in 1955. The L 319 had a gross vehicle of 3.6 t and entered series production the year.

The resilient technology of the L 319 the demanding requirements of its no-nonsense a load-bearing ladder-type frame for the and pickup versions (the van featured a partially self-supporting rigid front and rear with leaf-spring suspension, tyres at the rear axle and 16-inch wheels. The L 319 was also for its distinctive visual appeal, its strikingly curved, single-piece windscreen and small side ahead of the A-pillars, the oval and the forward position of the front for easier access to the cab.

The L a cab-over-engine model, was powered by conservative four-cylinder power Initially a pre-chamber diesel taken from the 180 D passenger car was the power plant. It produced 43 hp a displacement of 1.8 litres. Soon this, a petrol engine the Mercedes-Benz 190 with a 1.9-litre and 65 hp was added. Power transmission to the wheels was handled by a four-speed the gear lever on the steering can be regarded as a forerunner of the joystick in today’s Sprinter. Although 4.8 metres long, the panel van an impressive 8.6 cubic metres of volume.

During its life, the pioneering van saw both to its engines and its model In 1963, the internal designation L 319 was by the naming system based on and (rounded) power output in hp is still in use today. The van that had life as the L 319 was known as the L 408 and L 406 when the production activity ceased in (vehicles continued to be assembled in until 1970). Some vans of the series had been including the elegant O 319/O 319 D The production site also in 1962 the L 319 moved from to Dьsseldorf. Production of the bus model of the series (the O 319), had previously been built in also moved there. The Auto Union plant in later became the primary van plant for Mercedes-Benz in Germany.

the Dьsseldorfer – the new large-capacity van

As had happened a years earlier, the sixties a surge of innovation that produced new vans. 1967 saw the of the L 406 D, the successor to the first Mercedes-Benz Characteristic visual features the short engine hood more than a suggestion, in as the engine extended a considerable back into the cab to save Another distinctive feature was inherited from its predecessor was the position of the front axle to cab access. The sweeping panoramic was replaced by a large rectangular supplemented at the sides, as before, by windows. In keeping with the the basic shape of the new model was a theme picked up by both the grille and the rectangular headlamps.

the model designation L 406 D was a vehicle a GVW of 3.5 to 4.6 t and an output of 55 hp from a 2-litre engine (the same plant that was used in the 200 D passenger car). But this was not the end of the little by little the product was extended and by 1977, ten years it made its debut, it included the L 613 D 6.5 t GVW and a 5.7-litre six-cylinder truck which developed 130 hp. The optionally petrol engines were of significance in the German market. Bus also featured in the new series. In with the typical Mercedes-Benz bus of the day, the bus model was marketed as the O 309 D.

names in place of cumbersome for commercial vehicles was not yet commonplace at during this period. in the know would therefore refer to the vans according to the where they were This is why the large Mercedes-Benz van was called the Dьsseldorfer. A very model was the more compact van, which represented a new initially built from onwards at the Bremen production Subsequently, the Dьsseldorfer was also labelled T2 – the designation for a large-capacity The Dьsseldorfer/T2 proved to be a perennial and was built for almost 20 years. By just short of half a units plus parts (assembled in Spain, Argentina, Turkey and Tunisia) had been

L 206 D: a second model series the range

By this time, a number of new van had long since become alongside the Dьsseldorfer. Having had a holding in Hanomag-Henschel (a new brand by the merger of long-established companies) 1969, Daimler-Benz AG took control of the company at the start of This move brought the plant in Kassel into the Group along with the plant for the Tempo delivery van in and the former Borgward plant in both of which had been of Hanomag. As a result, Mercedes-Benz had a second, already well-established van comprising medium-capacity vehicles Hamburg and Bremen based on the Tempo Matador model.

developed by Hanomag as the F 20 to F 36, the van range 2.4 to 3.3 t GVW went into production – in modified form – as the Mercedes-Benz L 206 D and L 306 D the original Hanomag models to be produced in parallel. It goes saying that the Mercedes-branded featured the three-pointed star on the grille while Mercedes-Benz engines were fitted the cabs. Initially restricted to the two-litre four-cylinder unit 55 hp from the 200 D, the range of diesel was later extended to include the unit from the 220 D. Five after the takeover, the two-brand was abandoned and the vans, which manufactured exclusively in Bremen 1976 onwards, were as Mercedes-Benz products only. By the end of the the two brands’ combined output to almost 304,000 units, of 165,000 were Mercedes-Benz Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a new van featuring what are now typical characteristics was beginning to take

1977: a new best seller, the

In 1977 Daimler-Benz sent the Hanomag vans into Their design and engineering no longer really compatible the company’s style and engine The time was right for the emergence of the van (or Bremer for short) as it was referred to because of its origins. It was also the T1 or TN, an abbreviation for Transporter neu (new The new models embodied the now firmly principles for vans bearing the star: the rear wheels driven by a front-mounted engine was housed beneath a short and extended some way into the cab in to save space. In contrast to models with tubular the closed body versions an integral design based on a rigid floor frame and a body.

Daimler-Benz used design as the basis for the development of a range of vehicles. These models with 2.55 to 3.5 t GVW also 4.6 t with twin diesel engines starting at 48 kW (65 hp) for the 207 D and eventually rising to 70 kW (95 hp) in the 210 D/310 D and 410 D four and five cylinders, wheelbases and numerous body, and window variants. The Bremer developed into an all-rounder in its category. The chassis with its rigid front and rear made this a particularly model range while the of the doors behind the front – by now a well-established characteristic of the brand – accessing the cab particularly easy and

The new van also signalled a turnaround in of visual styling: with its and timeless body design, was the first Mercedes-Benz commercial to feature inclined lower edges in the cab. This styling feature became over the years throughout the range, right up to the heavy

The Mercedes-Benz T1 formed the backbone of the vans for a period of 18 years. The seller in its category, it only fell short of the magical mark with its total volume of 970,000 units. In its years, it was strictly speaking no a Bremer. Between 1980 and production was progressively transferred to which thus became the Daimler-Benz van production plant in for a number of years.

MB 100 D emerges Spain in 1987

In 1987, the van in Central Europe was expanded to the MB 100 D, a new compact van. It originated Vitoria in the Basque region of Spain and was part of the MB 100 D to MB 180 D range had been launched on the Iberian one year previously. This the spotlight on a plant and products had previously been virtually to the public outside south-west In 1958, the then Daimler-Benz AG over Auto Union, and in so acquired a van production plant in where DKW vans had been since 1954. This range was continued by Daimler-Benz retained the core product cab-over-engine vans with drive and a tubular frame. The engines were replaced by diesel engines, however.

a number of model changes, the MB 100 D to MB 180 D was launched on the market with up to 3.5 tonnes. In central Europe the MB 100 D was Typical features for this van the angular body and a number of characteristics which reflected the of the model series: a tubular a cab-over-engine design and front-wheel The engine, a typical Mercedes was the familiar four-cylinder diesel the 240 D passenger car (Taxidiesel) which 53 kW (72 hp) and had a displacement of 2.4 litres.

After an external facelift several later, an MB 100 D attracted attention as a showcase vehicle in 1994: the (New Electric Car) was the road vehicle in the world to be by a fuel cell. The NECAR a one-off but no less than units of the entire model were built in Spain.

the next large-capacity van is known as T2

In parallel to the Spanish van production engineers in Germany developed the to the Dьsseldorfer, which, due to the relocation of the model series to Germany’s region, was now simply referred to as T2. In nine years after the of the successful T1, it was no wonder that the new T2 like the T1’s big brother: a designed angular body a short hood and large side windows with an lower edge, a four-cylinder extending partly into the cab and a chassis with rigid and leaf-spring suspension – the similarities anything but superficial.

Since the T1 extended to a maximum GVW of 4.6 t by that the T2 also offered an expanded GVW from 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes. With its diesel engines ranging 53 kW (72 hp) to 100 kW (136 hp), a host of ratios, panel-van variants and a varied range of chassis not to mention all-wheel-drive models for the and forestry industries, the robust successfully filled the gap between vans and light trucks.

based at the traditional home of van manufacturing in Dьsseldorf, production of the T2 to Ludwigsfelde in Brandenburg (south of following German reunification at the of the nineties. During the ten years to 138,464 vehicles from model series were at the two production plants.


1995: much more just a name: the Sprinter

sales figures just of the million mark, the T1 was the clear seller amongst Mercedes-Benz In the spring of 1995, the T1 found a successor in the shape of the Sprinter. It was the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle to be a name instead of an abbreviation or a numerical code. This the sequence of cause and effect was the new and successful van heralded an unparalleled of renewal which touched all the vans and truck models in

Mercedes Benz van optional

With its longitudinal front-engine and rear-wheel-drive system, the Sprinter the basic technical concept of its However, all the other features new: the body, the cab and, not the technology. The chassis, with front suspension, placed emphasis on comfort and safety. powerful diesel engines up to 90 kW hp), the Sprinter did its name by assuming the leading position in its A comprehensive range of features was to keep all this power under control: disc all round as well as the standard-fit braking system (ABS) and brake differential redefined van

Initially offering 2.55 to 4.6 t GVW and countless body and wheelbase the Sprinter made versatility a Through an expansion of the range open model variants in its peak GVW was further increased to six A year before that, the was equipped with new four and engines boasting common-rail injection, multi-valve technology and a output of up to 115 kW (156 hp). An to manual and automatic transmission was by the Sprintshift automated transmission The shift lever or selector was fitted in the instrument panel in all to save space. And with the as standard of the Electronic Stability (ESP) and the Brake Assist (BAS), the Sprinter once set new standards for active safety in

Market success speaks for today the Sprinter is built not in Dьsseldorf, but also in Argentina and assembly of the vehicles also place in the US. In Europe, vehicles of its have long been to as the Sprinter class. No wonder, that 1.3 million vehicles been manufactured and are in use in well 100 countries. This makes the the best seller among the Mercedes-Benz van model ranges the past 50 years. Sprinters hybrid and fuel-cell drive are now undergoing customer trials. with the Safety Showcase study, these innovative offer a glimpse of the future of vans.

Looking beyond use, the Sprinter also great popularity as a basis for camper vans. In particular, the James Cook, converted by Van Conversion, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG, has since achieved cult Its regular, unchallenged selection as van of the year in its category reinforces position.

Compact and dynamic: the series Vito/V-Class 1995/1996

If the MB 100 D was angular in appearance and adopted technical features of its predecessors, the new broke with these when it was launched in the autumn of The only typical characteristic to was the front-wheel-drive layout. The body of the van in the 2.7 t GVW category was wedge-shaped and distinctly making it appealing to both and private buyers as well as users. This simplified the development of the V-Class MPV, was targeted at upmarket buyers extensive space requirements.

As early as 1997, the success of the was so resounding that it was being around the clock in three at the Vitoria plant. An intensive facelift and the introduction of CDI diesel with common-rail technology and a output of up to 90 kW (122 hp) in 1999 the Vito and V-Class further By the time the model range was in the summer of 2003, around Vito and V-Class vehicles had the Vitoria production plant.

sees the arrival of the Vario, the large-capacity van

Launched in 1996, the new large-capacity van offered an innovative of the strengths of a light truck the benefits of a van. It was characterised by a payload and a load capacity of up to 17 metres as well as a robust powerful turbodiesel engines up to 100 kW hp) — and subsequently even 112 kW hp) – as well as optional air suspension for the axle. The functional basic with a short engine was retained. The body, however, a thorough facelift.

Today, the offers vehicles spanning 5.9 to 7.5 t GVW as This range can be extended 5.0 to 8.2 tonnes by means of the load options. Engine outputs from 100 kW (136 hp) to 130 kW (177 the most powerful unit an impressive maximum torque of 675 Nm. Up to wheelbases, body variants for vans, panel vans a passenger compartment as well as a of chassis versions meet the of prospective customers looking for a robust large-capacity van or light with a high payload Internally ventilated disc all round and an optional retarder the Vario’s outstanding level of

Impressive safety and versatility: and Viano from 2003

the launch of the new-generation Vito in Mercedes-Benz raised the bar in the compact van Two wheelbases, three lengths and two heights, two GVW variants (2.77 and tonnes) as well as extensive and door variants form the for a model range with versatility to meet the most individual requirements. The Vito van and MPV were developed in parallel. a host of variants, right up to the Viano Marco Polo van (converted by Westfalia Van Conversion), the appeals to both commercial and buyers.

Rear-wheel drive and engine layouts allow the comprehensive, modular range of units to be fitted and at the same afford the Vito and Viano agility and handling. The economical and CDI diesel engines with technology offer power from 65 kW (88 hp) to 110 kW (150 hp); at the top end of the and Viano engine range is a V6 petrol engine with an of 170 kW (231 hp). Power is to the rear wheels via a six-speed transmission (with a joystick-type lever) or an automatic transmission in models with a petrol

Maximising power and minimising impact: the low-emission petrol already comply with the EU 4 The Vito and Viano with engines are the first vehicles in class which can be specified as EU-4-compliant. The Vito and Viano CDI are the first vans and MPVs with a particulate filter – has been fitted to the Viano as in various countries (including since summer 2005.

The Vito and Viano are not only and clean, but also exceptionally Their basis is a chassis independent suspension and coil The Vito and Viano standard also includes large brakes all round, anti-lock acceleration skid control, brake force distribution and the Assist System. Furthermore, are the only vehicles in their to be equipped with the Electronic Program (ESP) as standard. The also features a driver while the Vito crewbus and boast both driver and airbags.

The Vito and Viano are yet to the peak of their career. is demonstrated by new variants such as the 4×4 and Viano 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive, will enter series next year. The Viano study, which was presented at the IAA underlines the exceptional possibilities of the two series. Powered by a V8 engine 225 kW (306 hp), the Viano accelerates to 100 km/h in a mere 6.8 and can achieve a top speed of 240 km/h. A developed high-performance braking brings this superlative vehicle to a standstill just as Dynamic styling which a sports saloon and equipment by the business van market lend the its unique character.

The success of the and Viano is reflected by the fact the Vitoria plant in the Basque of northern Spain is already at full capacity producing 90,000 vehicles each on a two-shift basis.

The driving behind the success story: the Vans business unit

Mercedes-Benz vans played fiddle to their truck in the early years, this was redressed for good with the of the Mercedes-Benz Vans business in 1995. Since then, the van has operated independently within the Vehicles unit – and extremely too: Mercedes-Benz vans a unparalleled market position in segment in Europe. The market amounted to 17.5 percent year. Employing 13,400 the business unit achieved a of EUR 7.7 billion in 2004.

The Vito, and Vario vans and the Viano MPV are in Dьsseldorf, Ludwigsfelde, Vitoria/Spain, Aires/Argentina and Vietnam. Final for the north American market place in Charlston/USA, where the is sold under the Dodge and brands. A production plant in will be added in the near The Van Technology Center (VTC) was in Stuttgart in 2005. It embodies the and autonomy of the business unit by virtually all its functions, including controlling, sales and development/testing, one roof.

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