Amazon orders Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in 2018
The online giant ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans from Daimler AG. Amazon doesn’t own the vans. Instead, a fleet vehicle company leases them to new delivery companies, but the vans are emblazoned with the Amazon logo.
Amazon saw it as the perfect way to control costs and manage its own deliveries. Now the retail company is caught in the middle of an investigation by federal safety officials. The often-spotted and easily recognizable Sprinter might be a hazard on the roads.
Why is the NHTSA investigating the Sprinter vans?
Sprinter vans are used for a wide range of commercial purposes including ambulances and delivery vehicles. The NHTSA hasn't revealed the total number of vans they’re investigating. But recent complaints are focused on the 2019 Sprinter model year and involve the 2500, 3500, and 4500 vans.
The NHTSA received reports that the Mercedes-Benz vans were rolling away after being shifted to park using the Auto-P function. The Auto-P automatically puts the van in park as soon as the driver takes off their seat belt.
One driver in Pittsburgh claims the same faulty system was responsible for rollaway incidents in two different vans. The Amazon-branded vehicle rolled backward down a hill after it was turned off and parked.
The Auto-P brand feature is a favorite with
delivery driverswhose job requires jumping in and out of the van all day. The NHTSA is dealing with 11 rollaway complaints from various parts of the country. Unfortunately, eight of these incidents resulted in crashes with one injury reported.
Will the NHTSA issue a recall for impacted vans?
So far, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in question have not been recalled. The NHTSA has expressed concern that the rollaway vehicles pose a threat of injury or
property damage. But for now, the automaker has agreed to comply with the investigation and remains in close communication with federal officials.
Mercedes' cooperation isn't surprising considering the Sprinter van is vital to so many businesses. The same model is used for
recreational vehiclesas well as passenger vans. Many Sprinter vans are used daily and both drivers and pedestrians may be put in serious danger because of rollaway risks.
Almost 30,000 Sprinter vans were sold in 2019. If investigators decide to issue a recall, it’s bound to be a massive one.
For peace of mind on the road, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate car insurance.
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