Glaser, 49, will be responsible for all van operations, including sales, marketing, service and parts for the Sprinter brand.
The new role was created as part of parent company Daimler AG's new "Customer Dedication" initiative -- the realignment of the company's business divisions. Individual reporting structures were created for Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Trucks divisions. No other changes expected in the U.S. divisions because of the restructuring, said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
"The U.S. market is one of the biggest growth-potential markets for Sprinter vans, and we are investing resources to take advantage of the growth opportunity ahead of us," said Cannon.
Mercedes is promoting Glaser because "he is part of our executive team and he is a known quantity with the dealers," Cannon said.
"He brings the skill sets that are absolutely ideal to run and grow the expanding Sprinter business in the United States," Cannon said, citing Glaser's experience in marketing, pricing and planning product volume.
U.S. Sprinter sales began in 2001 by Freightliner, the truck builder owned by Daimler. In 2003, when Daimler owned Chrysler Group, the Sprinter also was badged as a Dodge and sold by that brand's dealers. In 2010, Mercedes took Sprinter from Dodge and began awarding the franchise to its dealers.
Dodge sold a high of 21,961 Sprinters in 2006 and a low of 7,154 in 2009. Since Mercedes began selling the van through its and Freightliner's dealers, sales have risen from 8,559 units in 2010 to 20,929 last year.
About 80 percent were sold by Mercedes dealers. In the United States, 177 Mercedes dealers and 57 Freightliner dealers sell the Sprinter.
Through September, Mercedes sold 14,940 Sprinter vans, down 3 percent compared with a year earlier. A re-engineered Sprinter van went on sale in September.
Last year, the Sprinter accounted for 8.3 percent of the U.S. full-sized van segment, which totaled 250,989 units. The segment is dominated by the Ford E series with a 48.8 percent share and the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana at 38.8 percent.
Glaser joined Mercedes-Benz in Germany in 1992 as a strategic product planner and moved to worldwide product manager for the E-Class. He came to Mercedes-Benz USA in 1998 as department manager for coupes and convertibles, overseeing the SL, SLK, CL and CLK models. In this post, he was responsible for planning volumes, price positioning, and equipment level strategy.
Glaser moved back to headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, three years later as executive assistant to the board member responsible for worldwide sales and marketing of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart.
He returned to Mercedes-Benz USA in 2003 as general manager of product management and was appointed to his current job in 2012.
Slaven joined Mercedes-Benz in 2002. In his new position, his charge is to continue to increase Mercedes passenger car sales during "the largest product offensive in the company's history," Cannon said.
"We will have one product after another for the next several years," he said. "It will be his responsibility to launch and market all of those products as we continue to open up the Mercedes-Benz brand to new buyers."