Mercedes-Benz Vans: body and conversion solutions: Mercedes-Benz VanSolution and VanPartner by Mercedes-Benz: tailor-made body and conversion solutions for V-Class, Citan, Vito and Sprinter

Oct 28, 2015
  • The Mercedes-Benz Vans Bodybuilder Centre
  • VanSolution: the one-stop programme for vans with body and conversion solutions
  • VanPartner: the certificate from Mercedes-Benz Vans
  • Mercedes star after approval from the Bodybuilder Centre
Although the scope of model variants covered by the V-Class, Citan, Vito and Sprinter takes some beating, even Mercedes-Benz is unable to fulfil every individual wish ex factory. Special tasks call for special solutions – this is where the Bodybuilder Centre of Mercedes-Benz Vans and its specialists for the various industries come in. Together, they have developed a multi-tier range of body and conversion solutions for customers. The VanSolution programme pools particularly sought-after, highly specialised product solutions for various sectors. VanPartner solutions are validated and recommended bodies and fit-outs from certified conversion partners.
The Mercedes-Benz Vans Bodybuilder Centre
Mercedes-Benz Vans has always attached priority to the area of body and conversion solutions – every customer buying a van receives the ideal solution for their individual tasks in terms of functionality and economic efficiency. To this end, the V-Class, Citan, Vito and Sprinter are available in a diverse scope of variants. Individual transport tasks call for equally individual solutions, however. When these cannot be delivered ex factory, specialist producers of body and conversion solutions take over.
Worldwide some 50 percent of all newly registered Sprinter vans are provided with a body or conversion solution from a specialist. The conversion rate for the Vito is around 25 percent, with a corresponding figure of around 20 percent for the Citan.
A team of some 40 employees is dedicated to this area of work at the headquarter.
VanSolution: the one-stop programme for vans with body and conversion solutions
Mercedes-Benz Vans is able to offer frequently sought-after body and equipment solutions ex factory – due to the VanSolution programme. These models are included in Mercedes-Benz's price lists and are marketed, financed and sold by way of single-invoice transactions. The body and conversion solutions are also treated as a genuine Mercedes-Benz product with regard to maintenance, service, guarantee and warranty cover – the solutions are an integral part of a complete vehicle from a single supplier.
This entails benefits for the customers beyond the above-stated merits: a single point of contact, no additional waiting time between ordering and delivery, a single coordination and configuration process.
For the purposes of VanSolution, Mercedes-Benz Vans collaborates exclusively with carefully selected and leading partners in the respective sectors. This cooperation spawns specialised trades solutions for the Vito, refrigerated vehicles based on the Vito and Sprinter, box-type bodies for dry freight, tippers and platforms as well as liftgates for panel vans based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
While all the vehicles come with the appurtenant equipment installed, a broad range of accessories is additionally available for the entire programme. In this way, Mercedes-Benz Vans is able to offer customised one-stop body and conversion solutions to its customers in particularly large sectors.
VanPartner: the certificate from Mercedes-Benz Vans
In a second tier, customers are able to find their special purpose vehicle on the publicly accessible international information platform This serves as a portal offering an overview of some 350 product solutions from 235 partner companies and enables direct contact to the individual suppliers. Information is available in eleven languages. Search criteria such as body type, vehicle category, sector and country facilitate selection.
The companies featured on the website qualify as a VanPartner by Mercedes-Benz and have achieved a special status: Mercedes-Benz Vans recommends these partners to customers by way of a dual invoice transaction. Dual invoice means that the Mercedes-Benz van and its body or conversion solution are ordered and invoiced separately. With regard to service, guarantee and warranty, each manufacturer is responsible for their respective scope of delivery.
The VanPartner certification is preceded by a qualification process: the Bodybuilder Centre checks and assesses both the quality of the bodybuilder company and its sales and service operations. All body and conversion solutions are produced in accordance with the body/equipment mounting directives or come with a certificate of endorsement.
What began in Germany in 2008 has now been expanded across Europe: in all major European markets there are VanPartners qualified by Mercedes-Benz Vans according to a standardised international assessment scheme. Bodybuilders and conversion companies benefit from this certification in two ways: Mercedes-Benz Vans recommends them to its customers, and they are permitted to advertise their respective solutions internationally using the title "VanPartner by Mercedes-Benz", also employing the wordmark and numerous advertising and presentation media provided by Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes star after approval from the Bodybuilder Centre
The Mercedes-Benz Vans BB Centre acts as an intermediary on various levels. Its personnel are partners to the body and conversion specialists, providing them with technical advice for potential conversions for new van models and supplying them with the necessary CAD data. They also provide body/equipment mounting directives. These specify in detail what modifications are approved by Mercedes-Benz, in order to ensure that the safety, functions and durability of the vehicles are not comprised in any manner.
Registered bodybuilders and conversion specialists can retrieve all the information that they require for their work from the dedicated bodybuilder portal. Body/ equipment mounting directives, operating instructions, technical data sheets, vehicle drawings as well as performance and engine diagrams are all available here.
The portal has been online since 2004. Almost 6000 manufacturers from more than 86 countries are now registered on the portal. More than 20 000 visits and 2.2 million site views per month highlight the close relationship between Mercedes-Benz and the producers of body and conversion solutions.
The specialists from the BB Centre additionally provide the bodybuilders with individual advice and price quotations for basic vehicles tailored to their particular needs. They are also there to support the bodybuilders when it comes to modifying the basic vehicle beyond the scope of the body/equipment mounting directives.
Furthermore, the specialists from the BB Centre monitor new developments by Mercedes-Benz Vans to ensure that the interests of bodybuilders and converters are taken into consideration. They also inform and train the sales personnel of Mercedes-Benz own-retail outlets and dealerships on aspects related to bodybuilding and conversions.
As experts they work with bodybuilders to develop all-in solutions from a single source for end-users. They also act as intermediaries between Mercedes-Benz and specialist companies when orders are administered by a general contractor, e.g. in the case of tenders issued by official bodies. Furthermore, they are involved in the case of exports from another country to a third country, i.e. when orders are processed across three countries.