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Sprinter gears up for the future

DaimlerChrysler is beefing up its efforts to market its Sprinter light-duty commercial truck in part by equipping it with an emission-compliant diesel engine. “Next year we will have what we call a ’50 state diesel engine’ available for the Sprinter,” said Craig Fisher, Sprinter’s director of commercial marketing. “That means it will be complaint with California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission rules, so we can sell the Sprinter in California as well as other states that have adopted CARB’s standards.” Fisher thinks having an emission-compliant diesel engine package for the Sprinter is “a huge advantage” when taken in conjunction with the other technology available for the vehicle. “Our electronic stability program (ESP) senses the potential for a rollover, automatically correcting a problem before it starts,” he said. “The more safety equipment we can put on the vehicle, like ESP, airbags, and anti-lock braking systems, the better our marketing position can be.” In particular, Fisher believes those safety systems coupled with a low-emission diesel engine could help Sprinter make inroads into a lot of light-duty truck market niches, especially airport and hotel shuttle buses, plumbers and electricians, and continued sales to package delivery firms such as UPS, FedEx and DHL. “The Sprinter is a narrow, more maneuverable vehicle for operations in congested urban areas, yet also has high payload capability,” he said. “Now with a 50-state engine, we can really sell those advantages to more markets than before.”

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