How the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter becomes a house, dental studio, bank or ambulance
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An icon of the light commercial world is having a big birthday this year: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is turning 25.
Now in its third generation and sold in over 130 countries, the Sprinter has long been regarded as a leader in technology and safety in its segment: it was an early adopter of anti-lock braking among vans and four-wheel disc brakes were standard from the start.
A New Zealand company called Action Manufacturing has been creating special versions of the Sprinter for almost half its life – almost 7000 customisations.
Even if you’ve never heard of Action, you’ll know its work: motorhomes (Action was formed after a merger between Kea and Tourism Holdings Limited) and especially NZ’s iconic St John’s ambulances.
Action started really customising the Sprinter in 2009, when it created a bespoke mobile dental unit. That was the first major product from its newly formed specialised vehicle division.
The relationship between Mercedes-Benz and St John’s goes back to the early 2000s. Action has been building custom Sprinter-based ambulances since 2011 and is now into its fourth generation, which has moved from a box-body design to a medium-wheelbase high-roof van based on the latest VS30 Sprinter.
Action says it worked closely with front-line officers to refine the handling, weight and equipment distribution, as well as improving the patient experience through lighting and road-noise reduction.
The mobile bank is a prototype also based on the new VS30, but on a cab-chassis.
It includes most things you’d expect from an office: air conditioning, hot running water, bathroom facilities, audio-video solutions – but also the heavy duty secure wireless connectivity demanded by a bank.
The FWD Sprinter allows a low floor height and keeps overall dimensions down so the vehicle can drive into as many locations as possible.
It also features a walk-through cab and side-entry door, so couriers don’t have to exit onto the road when unloading.