DaimlerChrysler’s commercial van division is to sell Mercedes-Benz-designed Sprinter delivery trucks in the US under the Dodge name, Bloomberg News reported.

Bloomberg said the Dodge Sprinter would be sold at 2,937 Dodge dealers from the first half of 2003 but also plans to keep selling the vans under the Freightliner name as well in the US to the end of 2006, and as Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe.

Bloomberg said that DaimlerChrysler is trying to share parts, brands and resources among its Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Freightliner units.

The Sprinter, used by customers including United Parcel Service, will replace the Dodge Ram van that Chrysler stops building next year, Bloomberg News said.

Citing DC spokesman Randy Jones, Bloomberg said all North American versions of the Sprinter would be badged Dodge after 2006.

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Bloomberg said DaimlerChrysler expects to sell about 5,500 Sprinters in the US this year and sold 36,537 Dodge Ram cargo vans last year.

The Sprinter cargo and passenger versions are made in Dusseldorf, Germany, Bloomberg News said, with passenger versions exported to the US fully assembled, while cargo vans are shipped for assembly in Gaffney, South Carolina where DC is considering a new plant but has not yet selected a site.