Looking for a new 4WD Sprinter? Good luck.
If you walk into a Mercedes-Benz dealer today looking for a four-wheel-drive Sprinter, you will likely walk out with your name on a waiting list. “There is tremendous demand across the board for Sprinters, and for four-by-fours, there is higher demand here than in other parts of the country,” says Bill Holloway, a Sprinter sales representative at Mercedes-Benz of Loveland, Colo.
Because Covid-19 has pushed people into the outdoors, off mass transportation, and allowed them to see that they can work remotely from the road, the market for conversion vans has skyrocketed in the past year. Couple that with Coloradans who want to use their vans for mountain access—that’s where the demand for four-wheel-drive comes into play—and it’s hard for suppliers to keep up.
“We can currently deliver 50% of what we can sell,” says Holloway.
But it’s not just too much demand. The supply chain has been impacted by the pandemic, with everything from parts manufacturing, factory shutdowns and labor shortages creating problems throughout the pipeline. For example, there is a global semiconductor shortage, because with people staying at home came increased purchasing of electronics, computers, video consoles and more. All of these require semiconductors to operate. Cars and vans also require semiconductors, using chips in everything from power steering and brake sensors, to entertainment systems and parking cameras. So, the auto industry is being slowed down because makers can’t get all the parts they need to build vehicles.
“Everybody is behind the eight-ball, and I don’t see that changing in the next 60 days,” says Holloway. “The long and short is that we’re going to miss the first full quarter of production. Our inventory is decreased by 25%. … We have to apologize to customers a lot.”
A new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter rear-wheel-drive can start around $40,000 and the four-wheel-drive option is an additional $8,175. Holloway says it is not uncommon for some dealers around the country to charge a premium over MSRP for the 4X4s, simply because there are people willing to pay it.
Customers can opt for standard vans without the four-wheel drive, and there’s no wait-list for those currently, at least out of the Loveland dealership. Holloway says most clientele could get away without four-wheel-drive capabilities to meet their specific uses, but many feel they “need it.”
“If you think about it, a four-wheel drive van was not even an option until 2015 and somehow we all got along just fine,” he says. “A rear-wheel-drive with proper tires and some weight will cover the majority—possibly not all—but the majority of peoples needs”
But if your heart is set on a new Sprinter with that all-terrain potential, prepare to be waiting until the late summer or fall. You’re not the only one.
Questions for Bill Holloway?
You can reach him at Mercedes-Benz of Loveland, (970) 278-2310 or firstname.lastname@example.org