• Dec 19, 2006


Some of the world's automotive conglomerates are more guilty of badge engineering than others. With very few exceptions, the acquisition of Chrysler by Daimler-Benz (call it a merger if you like, but we're not fooled) is not among the worst offenders. The Chrysler 300C may look to some like a Benz, and the Crossfire may be built on an old SLK platform, but Mercedes isn't selling rebadged Vipers overseas and Jeep hasn't slapped its own label on a G-wagon. (Yet.) The most notable exception comes from the commercial side of operations, where DCX brings the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van over to the North American market as a Dodge or Freightliner. There was no hiding it, either, as the American "version" kept all the same components, body panels, even the name. Just the badge was changed. But Montana-based OEM Sprinter Parts can switch it back for you if you'd like.

Because DaimlerChrysler didn't change anything beside the badging, the "conversion kits" are relatively straightforward. You can get the Mercedes grille (complete with three-pointed star and optional 316CDI grille badge), wheel hubs, interior fittings...the works, right down to the signature sticker for the windshield. The whole kit costs less than $300 for most models. Now that's the cheapest upgrade from a Dodge to a Mercedes you'll find anywhere.

[Source: OEM Sprinter Parts via Winding Road]



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