Mercedes-Benz vans and trucks: at home in the diverse world of distribution transportation

  • Complete Mercedes-Benz product range, from compact 2.8-tonne vans to 40-tonne truck/trailer combinations
  • Modified consumer behaviour and increased transport volumes call for specialist vehicle concepts
  • Electric, natural gas and hybrid drives emerge as alternatives in urban distribution applications
No other logistical market segment has developed as rapidly within recent decades as that of the distribution transportation sector. In what has become an ever-shrinking world of transcontinental goods exchanges, as well as permanently available and newly established international trade distribution channels, the importance of distribution and delivery transportation continues to grow at a drastic pace. Global trends, such as the increasing number of mega-cities which are hungry for goods and services, call for new transport concepts - both inside and outside of urban areas.
With a product portfolio which ranges from compact 2.8-tonne vans right through to powerful 40-tonne long-haul truck/trailer combinations, Mercedes-Benz is unlike any other commercial vehicle manufacturer in being able to cover the entire spectrum of distribution transportation with modern, economical and innovative vehicle concepts.
Actros: variable and powerful en route to customers
Controlling commodity flows, which are constantly growing due to modern consumer behaviour, starts at the very source of the logistical service chain. Distribution transportation forms the backbone of the goods transportation system, from production through to the distribution centres. Complete load transportation which makes maximum use of payload is a role which the fleet of heavy-duty Actros trucks is more than capable of tackling. Whether as a solo vehicle, trailer unit or semitrailer/tractor combination, the flagship vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz truck range is able to transport goods from the point of import or manufacturing to national or regional distribution centres. In addition to its classic role as a long-haul truck, thanks to its wide range of different variants - from the compact solo vehicle with entry-level engines starting from 235 kW (320 hp), via volume-optimised vehicle combinations, right through to the 40-tonne vehicle combination - the Actros is able to cope with the most diverse of tasks in the heavy-duty distribution sector. The areas covered by the heavy-duty Actros also include fixed-route transportation to goods distribution centres, overnight deliveries to large supermarkets, as well as traditional partial load transportation.
Axor: predestined for heavy-duty distribution applications
The fulfilment of daily orders in the deadline-based distribution sector is where the Mercedes-Benz Axor is able to provide an exceptional level of support. Featuring a design which is oriented towards heavy-duty distribution applications, and thanks to its high payload capacity, the Axor is capable of tackling both heavy-duty as well as medium-duty transport tasks. With a power output ranging from 175 kW (238 hp) to 315 kW (428 hp), the modern BlueTec series of engines used in the Axor cover the entire spectrum of requirements demanded by all heavy-duty distribution applications.
The Axor carries out its tasks as a heavy-duty distribution truck in the widest possible variety of roles: these include classic distribution jobs for supplying supermarkets and retailers, the transportation of building materials or liquids, and mixed goods distribution with numerous drop-off points. Whether as an 18-tonne solo vehicle used for mixed goods transport applications in city environments, a trailer unit with a manoeuvrable centre axle trailer for part-load transportation, a semitrailer truck with a refrigerated body, refrigerated semitrailer or conventional semitrailer for long-haul routes: the diverse applications for which the Axor can be used know no bounds.
To meet the demands of its varied job, the Axor can be configured for specific customer applications thanks to four different driver's cab variants and three versions of cockpit. The design of the vehicle has been consistently applied with maximum payload in mind and holds all of the trump cards when it comes to operating costs. Thanks to a combination of long maintenance intervals of up to 100,000 kilometres, low fuel consumption and the proverbial quality of a Mercedes-Benz truck, the Axor has emerged as the bestseller among the most economical and safest examples of its application class.
With its comfort-oriented equipped driver's cab and Mercedes PowerShift automated gearshift, available in Germany as standard, the Axor also scores highly among drivers. Automated shifting makes delivery work in urban environments significantly easier. At the wheel of his Axor, the driver can concentrate fully on the city traffic and on driving safely to the next unloading point. Multifunctional assistance systems such as Fleetboard telematics also support the driver and transport operator in making reliable deliveries on time.
Atego: infinite applications for a multi-variant, multi-talented vehicle
As soon as transport tasks take vehicles into urban regions, the Axor can hand the baton over to the multi-talented Atego distribution truck, which has an application spectrum ranging from 6.5 tonnes up to 16 tonnes, with capability to take a trailer. The bestseller among distribution trucks is able to meet virtually every transport requirement thanks to its wide range of models.
With a gross vehicle weight of 16 tonnes and the option to attach a trailer if necessary, the compact Atego builds directly on the Axor's areas of application. Its flexibility as a solo vehicle, trailer unit or light-duty semitrailer combination makes the Atego an all-rounder for a great number of distribution tasks. The scope of application ranges from rural transportation through to the areas covered by the Atego: quick, safe and above all economical applications in the city and surrounding region. This is where the unique concept of the successful distribution truck displays all of its advantages to the full: low frame height with corresponding­ly convenient access for applications involving frequent embarking and dis­embarking, fuel-efficient BlueTec engines with a finely differentiated range of power outputs from 95 kW (129 hp) to 210 kW (286 hp), and a modular-design frame structure which can be easily combined with the widest variety of bodies. As such, the area of application of the Atego is limitless: the jack-of-all-trades in the Mercedes-Benz truck range is able to cope with tasks involving classic mixed goods transportation, delivery operations or light-duty dump truck duties on the building site. Special bodies, from car transporters via frozen and refrigerated bodies through to local authority applications, complete the image of the Atego as a veritable all-rounder.
Particular significance is afforded to the payload-optimised 12-tonner in the Atego product family. It has assumed the role of the cost-optimised express truck which is exempt from road tolls and, thanks to its newly-adopted 160 kW (218 hp) four-cylinder engine, is able to handle a particularly high payload. In its latest version, the favourably priced 12-tonner is also able to take a trailer weighing up to 8 tonnes as an additional option. This reflects the high level of versatility and practicality of the entire vehicle series.
Mercedes-Benz has marked a very special first in the industry with an innovative fleet made up of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12-tonner. As Europe's first Euro-V EEV hybrid truck, it not only transports freight but also carries what is an important piece of future technology in urban distribution transportation. The additional electric power of a parallel hybrid drive enables the Atego Hybrid to achieve excellent environmental performance levels and exceptional economic efficiency. As the first representative of hybrid technology in a European distribution truck, it is already taking transport into the future.
Given the varied application areas of the Atego, it is important for its crew not to have to make any compromises. The ergonomically perfect cab is available in four sizes, from the compact cab to the long-haul high-roof version, and also benefits from three different cockpit variants as well as a variety of equipment. The engine start/stop system available for the Atego can help to reduce fuel consumption in busy inner-city traffic by up to 2.8 percent, while the optional automated Telligent six-speed transmission saves on wear and tear and driver nerves. The interior of the Atego can also be perfectly tailored to specific applications thanks to a wide variety of equipment features.
The variety of available Atego models is rounded off nicely with all-wheel drive versions suitable for distribution jobs in areas with no proper surfaced roads or in alpine regions. In its lightest version as a 6.5-tonner, the Atego ties in at the lower end of the range with the Fuso Canter and the high-payload 5-tonne vans from the Sprinter range.
Mitsubishi Fuso Canter: agile all-rounder for urban, rural and industrial applications
In a weight class below the Atego, and therefore ideally positioned between the heavy-duty Sprinter vans and light-duty Atego, is the Mitsubishi Fuso. The application area of the light-duty truck ranges from the extremely manoeuvrable 3.5-tonner, to the 7.5-tonne vehicle. All Canter models feature a robust ladder-type frame with cab-over engine design.
The extremely payload-friendly Canter chassis can be combined with the widest variety of bodies for urban distribution and trade applications. With a number of wheelbase variants as well as four cab versions, the Canter range can be tailored to individual customer requirements and also includes special versions, such as the particularly narrow and low skip loader for inner-city applications.
The complete range of products and sector solutions which are available direct from dealers make the Fuso Canter an extremely popular choice for trade and industry use. With three different common-rail engine versions ranging from 96 kW (130 hp) to 129 kW (175 hp) as well as numerous axle ratio variants, the Fuso Canter provides the optimum solution for applications in the distribution trans­portation sector. EEV drives and particle filters guarantee unrestricted access to inner-city areas which impose exhaust gas emission limits. The Fuso Canter has also demonstrated its innovative character in the domestic light-duty truck sector, while the hybrid version has also proved a resounding success: so far almost 900 examples of the Canter Eco Hybrid have been sold in Japan, Australia, Ireland and, since February 2010, Hong Kong. As a result, the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation is also planning to expand its hybrid business even further with expansion into new markets in 2010.
Sprinter: a name which is synonymous with success
The success story of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is very similar to that of the Atego. During the course of its production, the best-selling van has become synonymous with a whole vehicle class, the face of which it has decisively shaped from the very beginning.
The latest generation of the Sprinter comprises versions with a gross vehicle weight of between 3 and 5 tonnes, available in the widest possible variety of configurations for everyday use as multi-drop distribution or express delivery vehicles. With four body lengths, three wheelbases and three load compartment heights, Sprinter customers can choose from the widest selection of variants on the market. And with platform versions, and sector-specific special bodies such as sales, package or courier, express and parcel service variants, the Sprinter can be precisely configured for its specific purpose.
In addition to its modern diesel engines covering four power bands, the Sprinter NGT with natural gas powered petrol engine, which was launched in 2008, has also won over numerous long-term fans for urban distribution applications. The natural gas drive helps to save the environment and also cuts fuel costs at the same time, without compromises having to be made in terms of performance and comfort. In addition, Sprinter BlueEFFICIENCY models fitted with start/stop technology as standard offer an additional savings potential.
By way of supplement to the distribution jobs undertaken by the Atego and Axor, the Sprinter takes care of the multi-drop distribution of small parts deliveries direct to end users or the retail trade. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter impresses in distribution applications calling for a cost-effective method of delivering goods quickly and reliable using a highly manoeuvrable vehicle. As a delivery vehicle for the booming parcels sector, the Sprinter has become an integral feature of big cities the world over. With its car-like handling, comfort and exemplary safety technology, it is also suitable for buyers switching from compact vehicles.
Vito: the compact van made for the city
When it comes to manoeuvrability in hectic city traffic, the Sprinter can only be matched by its smaller brother the Vito. In areas designed for medium-class passenger car traffic, the compact van is able to expedite goods and commodities through narrow alleys and along tight access roads, or via the highways of the modern city. Car-like handling combined with the economic efficiency and comfort features of a state-of-the-art vehicle design are among the key strengths of the Mercedes-Benz Vito, which comes in three lengths and with bodies in two different heights. The customer base of the classic 2.8-tonner includes tradesmen and express delivery companies, as well as goods taxis and small businesses. The compact professional delivery van from Daimler offers maximum flexibility for everyday use.
Of course the scope of the standard trim level in the Vito includes complete safety equipment with ESP. For short-haul applications in cities and long-haul efficiency on more distant routes, diesel engines in four power output variants are available, ranging from 70 kW (95 hp) to 150 kW (204 hp).
From the summer of 2010, customers have started receiving the first electric Vito's as part of a large-scale practical trial. This first large trial of a zero-emission delivery vehicle serves to highlight Daimler's reputation as a technology leader in distribution transportation.
Econic NGT and Vario: the distribution experts for specialist applications
A particularly significant role is played in the distribution fleet range by the Mercedes-Benz Econic. The special vehicle with the characteristic low-entry cab and aluminium section design has become a regular feature for delivery services, not only on the roads of German cities. As such, the Econic is demonstrating its strong distribution qualities, resplendent in orange. The exceptionally low noise and emission levels of its EEV-standard natural gas drive have helped to make the Econic NGT the ideal choice for applications in city centre areas which impose noise and exhaust restrictions. The extremely quiet natural gas drive transfers the drive power to the driven wheels via an automatic transmission in an extremely low-emission mode.
As a result, the Econic has successfully demonstrated its qualifications as a delivery vehicle for supermarkets and shops in inner-city and residential areas, access to which for regular trucks is mostly restricted to night shifts. The low-floor design of the large Econic cab offers sufficient space for three people, and with its low entry level via an inward-folding door it is ideally suited to operation in cities. Thanks to the cost benefit of the low-cost natural gas drive, the Econic NGT is able to make a significant contribution towards keeping the city clean and quite - even when the city never really sleeps.
Uniqueness is also one of the attributes of the Mercedes-Benz Vario. Besides its exemplary career in the field of local authority operations, and road and installation construction, the large van in the 6 to 7.5-tonne weight class is also often to be found being used as a heavy-duty van with integrated box-type body. Low body height and direct access from the driver's area to the load compartment are exclusive arguments in favour of the Vario. The customer base of the consistently updated Mercedes-Benz vehicle includes magazine wholesalers, who supply the retail trade by means of night-time deliveries.
With three Euro V-compliant BlueTec engine versions ranging from 95 kW (129 hp) to 130 kW (177 hp), the reliable extra-large van boasts a good series of engines which also make it suitable as a trailer unit with a towing capacity of up to 7.5 tonnes. Thanks to its exclusive distribution transportation qualities, the exemplary long-term career of the Vario looks guaranteed to continue.

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