Last year, there were 350 dealers selling Sprinters, but the signs in front of those dealerships had the word "Dodge" on them. Now that Sprinters have been pulled from Chrysler's pipeline, Automotive News reports that Mercedes-Benz has established its own U.S. van subsidiary and is canvassing dealers to sell the hardy haulers.

Of the 165 Mercedes and Freightliner dealers invited to add Sprinters to their lineups, 143 have accepted the call. Even though 14,600 Sprinters were moved through Dodge outlets and another 3,682 by Freightliner, Mercedes set the minimum for its dealers at 30 vans annually to begin with.

If you're looking for a Sprinter, you'll probably be able to find it with a three-pointed star early next year. In the meantime, dealers are creating the necessary showroom space and adding repair bay features to deal with the big boxes.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd.]