While some buyers are naturally attracted to the Mercedes branded Sprinters, many businesses, charitable organizations and government institutions prefer to avoid the negative attention that a prestige brand may draw, by choosing a Dodge or Freightliner branded van. It was also common for many groups or institutions that bought a Mercedes branded Sprinter, and didn't want the attention of a Mercedes to change out the grill and emblems to a more blue collar Dodge or Freightliner brand. These vans, regardless of the name on front have always been made by Mercedes-Benz and then just rebadged.
While Freightliner does remain a part of Daimler, there was apparently a decision (according to various MB & Freightliner dealerships I've spoken with) that will end Freightliner's very long role with the Sprinter models late this year, 2021.
What does this mean? Well this means that the Freightliner dealers that currently sell and service Sprinters will soon no longer be able to do so. Freightliner Sprinters that need factory service will need to have that work done at select Mercedes Benz dealerships, ones that currently sell Sprinters. In truth, there are many more Mercedes dealerships across the country than Freightliner dealers that offer Sprinter service and the price of the service did not favor Freightliner, as one may assume.
With all of that in mind, I do prefer a Freightliner branded Sprinter over the MB and I was planning to buy another, when our Freightliner finally needs replaced. It's kind of funny, because years ago we were choosing between two Sprinters, one was a beautiful Mercedes and the other was our sleek, silver Freightliner. My wife was initially the reason for choosing the Freightliner, as she didn't want people to think that we were being ostentatious. Over time I really learned to love the "King of the Road" name plate and I figured it was actually more fitting as our working/family rig. We have since had many overnight stays in Portland hotels and many other sketchy cities here in the USA and Canada where I was relieved that the big 3 pointed star wasn't posted on our grill.
I don't like the Freightliner label being removed from the picture and I don't think this is a particularly good time, as Mercedes Sprinter service centers are currently over-packed. I also believe that the Mercedes Benz name association with Sprinter has since degraded some for MB since they no longer treat all of their customers with the same courtesy as their other Mercedes car and truck buyers.
No matter, I for one, will miss the two decade long Freightliner relationship that has lasted as long as the Sprinter name has in the USA and I really do feel bad for the Freightliner dealers that have invested so much in making their dealerships successful.