Sprinter conversions as a passion
Jochen van de Keer manages a sales company for converted vans in Belgium – and is highly successful. About his work and his passion for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Success with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
He is a qualified physiotherapist but prefers to handle vehicles rather than people: Jochen van de Keer specializes in converting Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
A variety of specialized conversion and body manufacturers support him, depending on the customer’s requests. For example, the Irish company “EVM” is a long-standing partner of “Sprinterbus” and produces approximately 90% of the vans sold. Jochen van de Keer explains why he relies exclusively on the Sprinter for the conversions:
The Sprinter is simply the best van and it has the most powerful engine. Plus, Mercedes-Benz also offers a very good, worldwide service network.
Making optimal use of the space in the Sprinter
In contrast to other manufacturers, van de Keer uses as many original Mercedes-Benz parts as possible. In addition, he never extends the Sprinter chassis as a matter of principle. As such, his challenge when converting the vehicle consists of making optimum use of the maximum permissible weight and the available space in the Sprinter. Alongside the spatial limitations, there are also the constantly changing EU regulations that have to be understood and implemented. However, that does not stop Jochen van de Keer from doing his best every single day. “As a good craftsman you have to work hard and a lot. But at the same time we also have to offer short delivery times and address individual customer requests.” His wife and family also support him with fulfilling these requests as do the good relationships with dealers, suppliers and, not least of all, Mercedes-Benz.
No compromises with safety and quality
The customers ranging from taxi companies to wealthy private individuals are just as unique as the products that “Sprinterbus” offers. From luxury Sprinter to vans for the disabled to school buses – the spectrum covers everything.
In particular the latter means a lot to Jochen van de Keer: “Children are the future of the bus business. We want to offer them the vehicle they deserve today so that they will later use the bus as a means of transport.” Van de Keer would like to make the bus so comfortable that he himself would like to ride on it. Yet he does not want to make any compromises with quality and safety. “This is about our children and we have to make sure that they are brought to school as safely as possible. Even if that means that we are the most expensive provider in the market.”
No complacency – despite market leadership
The hard work pays off for van de Keer and his partners: “Whenever I see one of our vehicles on the road and realize how good it looks and stands up to the usage then I still have to smile every time even after all these years”, he says proudly. Furthermore, “Sprinterbus” is also the market leader for the M2 class (passenger vehicles with more than eight seats plus the driver’s seat and a permissible total weight of up to 5 tonnes) in the UK, Ireland and Belgium. Yet van de Keer has no intention of resting on his laurels. He already has a plan for the future: “My dream is to build a camper van on a Sprinter chassis. I think that the traditional camper vans all look the same. I would love to develop a concept for a modern, hip camper van. Similar to the Marco Polo, but a little larger.”
|Conversion profile – Mercedes-Benz Sprinter|
Berlaar | Belgium
Photos: Sprinterbus BVBA