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, and instead chose 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 the grill have always been made by Mercedes-Benz.
While Freightliner does remain a part of Daimler, there was apparently a decision that will end Freightliner's very long role with the Sprinter offering, effective December 29, 2021.
I haven't heard what happens to the existing Freightliner dealer inventory, although I would assume they will be collected by Mercedes and sold through their dealerships.
What does this all 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 blue-grey Mercedes and the other was our sleek, silver Freightliner. My wife was initially the reason for choosing the Freightliner, as she didn't want our neighbors 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 appreciate the Freightliner label being removed from the picture and I don't believe this is a particularly good time, as Mercedes Sprinter service centers are currently over-packed. Unfortunately, the Mercedes-Benz name association with Sprinter has taken a hit since they no longer treat their Sprinter customers with the same courtesy as their other Mercedes customers, many with cars that cost less than new Sprinters. None-the-less, demand for these vans seems to always be at a feverish pace, with many selling long before they hit the dealer lot. This is great for the sales department, but again, hard on service departments and those needing or expecting prompt service. This prompt service was typically available much sooner at the Freightliner dealership, which now, no longer exists as an option.
I for one, will miss the twenty year Freightliner relationship. After all it's one that has lasted as long as the Sprinter has existed in the USA and I feel bad for the Freightliner dealers that have invested much in making their dealerships successful. I know our Portland, Oregon dealership was really looking it's best before the plug was pulled.