A van by any other name

Edward Lapham is editor of Automotive News

Dec. 11 -- When Daimler acquired Chrysler there was a lot of talk about how the two automakers would share technologies, but definitely not products.

After all, how could anyone confuse a Mercedes with a Chrysler? Well, beginning next year, some U.S. Dodge dealers will get to sell a Mercedes-built Sprinter van, complete with a Mercedes Diesel engine. There will be both cargo and passenger versions.

That's because the aging Dodge Ram cannot compete in the large van market against newer offerings from Ford and General Motors.

Confused? Just wait. Ultimately, versions of the Sprinter van will be sold by Dodge, Freightliner and Mercedes dealers.

Thank goodness there's no badge engineering at DaimlerChrysler.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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