The Truth About Cars » Commercial Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Commercial Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Volkswagen Considering Trucks, Vans For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024977 Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again. According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well […]

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2014-volkswagen-amarok-canyon-front-three-quarter-view-1

Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again.

According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well as drive more sales on its way to catching up — and one day, surpass — both Toyota and General Motors.

Potential models include the Amarok pickup, as well as the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. VW’s global light commercial unit sold 445,000 models around the world last year, compared to the 366,970 models from the automaker’s USDM range over the same period. Overall global sales in 2014 came to over 10 million units.

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016682 Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed. According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the […]

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Lexus Autonomous Car

Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed.

According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the outcome being that most vehicles on the road within the next few decades will be autonomous. Automotive practice chief Hans-Werner Kaas explains:

Autonomous vehicles will have a gradual step-by-step adoption. First, there will be pay-per-usage models. These vehicles will be alternatives to cars. They will make mobility available in smaller incremental units.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology is already present in the industrial sector, such as Australian mining company Rio Tinto’s fleet of 53 autonomous dump trucks at one of its iron ore mines in western Australia. Kaas says vehicles like those trucks “are defined environments where you have defined routes,” leading to greater control overall.

The report goes on to state that body shops would have less work due to fewer fender-benders between autonomous vehicles, while service techs would need extensive training to maintain the array of systems used by the vehicles; insurance companies would have to adapt as well.

Finally, more parking spaces would be in need of repurposing: by 2050, up to 5.7 billion square meters would be converted into something else as a result of how autonomous vehicles handle such things. The report adds that the shift to near-autonomy would take two decades to accomplish.

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Hyundai Bolstering Commercial Business For Go At US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002794 Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020. Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional […]

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Hyundai Trago Xcient

Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020.

Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional ₩1.6 trillion ($1.45 billion) to go into R&D over the same period.

Currently, Hyundai is building its Trago Xcient heavy commercial truck in China for the automaker’s largest market — the U.S. is second — and has plans to assemble the H350 light commercial truck in Turkey beginning next month for the automaker’s foray into Western Europe. Meanwhile, the factory in Jeonji, South Korea will see its production capacity rise from 65,000 units per year to 100,000 by 2020.

However, just like its experience in building its market share in the U.S. consumer market, Hyundai’s assault on the commercial market will take some time. Per Korea Investment & Securities analyst Suh Sung-moon, the automaker would need to boost total commercial production capacity to 10 million units, up from the 8 million made annually.

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Small Vans Take 26% Of U.S. Commercial Van Market In January 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/small-vans-take-26-u-s-commercial-van-market-january-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/small-vans-take-26-u-s-commercial-van-market-january-2015/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 13:59:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995866 Ford’s second-generation Transit Connect is losing market share at a furious rate. However, that’s not a valid commentary on the Transit Connect, but rather a side effect of a revolution in the small commercial van category. Transit Connect sales jumped 72% in the first month of 2015 to the highest January level in the model’s […]

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2014 Ford Transit ConnectFord’s second-generation Transit Connect is losing market share at a furious rate.

However, that’s not a valid commentary on the Transit Connect, but rather a side effect of a revolution in the small commercial van category.

Transit Connect sales jumped 72% in the first month of 2015 to the highest January level in the model’s brief history. 55% of the small commercial van category belonged to the Transit Connect in January 2015, down from 71% in January 2014 despite the Transit Connect’s 1543-unit improvement.

The cause for the Ford’s market share losses? The established competition – rival vans which were on sale a year ago – posted even greater percentage gains. Added to that are new vans: a twin of the Nissan NV200 from Chevrolet, and a Fiat Doblo-based ProMaster City from Ram.

These four Transit Connect alternatives collectively produced a 231% year-over-year improvement to 2963 sales, 726 units shy of the Ford’s total.

Small Commercial Van
January
2015
January
2014
% Change
Chevrolet City Express
 585
Ford Transit Connect
 3,689 2,146 71.9%
Nissan NV200
1,184 540 119%
Ram Cargo Van
 1,101 355 210%
Ram ProMaster City
 93
Total
6,652 3,041 119%

January was just the second full month on the market for the City Express. 1115 have been sold since the tail end of November. Inventory is improving. City Express sales will climb. And it will be interesting to see the long-term split between the City Express and its donor vehicle, the Nissan NV200.

19,188 NV200s have been sold since the smaller Nissan van arrived at the end of 2013’s first-quarter. December was the NV200’s best month yet, with 1532 sales.

Ram’s Cargo Van, a windows-blanked-out Dodge Grand Caravan, returned in the latter half of 2011. Sales consistently improve: up 26% in 2013, up 27% in 2014, and up in each of the last seven months. The highest-volume month in the current-generation’s tenure was November of last year when 1709 were sold. January was the first month for the ProMaster City, the little brother for the Fiat Ducato-based ProMaster.

2015 Ram ProMaster CityThere will be versions of these vans used by drivers who don’t work for couriers or as plumbers, even some which will end up in family driveways as true minivans. (The “real” minivan market was down 7% to 30,831 units in January.) Yet taken as a sub-segment of the commercial van category, these vans were a big reason for the segment’s massive 35% improvement in January 2015.

Their combined share grew from 16% in January 2014 and 21% in December 2014 to 26% in January 2015. The Transit Connect ranked second overall, only trailing another Ford, the new Transit.

Total commercial van volume was up by 6566 units last month. This smaller quintet contributed 3611 extra sales. The full-size group increased by fewer than 3000 sales. And the little kids aren’t done yet. The Mercedes-Benz Metris will attempt to find a niche between the small vans and full-size players when it’s eventually re-assembled in South Carolina.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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China Auto Sales Slow To Lowest Rate Since February 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931362 Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools. Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent […]

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SAIC bus

Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools.

Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent to 1.7 million units, commercial-vehicle sales fell 16 percent.

Meanwhile, purchase restrictions and declines in other parts of the nation’s economy also contributed to the slowdown in sales. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers lowered its 2014 forecast of vehicle sales growth in July, bringing it down from 10 percent to 8.3 percent. Economists add that overall growth will slow to 7.3 percent in 2014 — the lowest rate since 1990 — and 7 percent for 2015.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Hanover Vans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:29:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921290 The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight. The first is the Hyundai H350. For now […]

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The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight.

01-hyundai-hg350-van-1

The first is the Hyundai H350. For now a Euro-special only, this one is especially interesting to Brazilians as there are strong rumors it will soon be built here in our tropical country. It follows traditional European van design, while adding some Hyundai visual cues. Its interior is quite simple, offering up enough content to be a contender.  It can be equipped with independent air conditioning, refrigerated glove box, rain, darkness and parking sensors, Android-based multimedia center, and cruise control. Hyundai highlights construction flexibility possibilities, coming in three body styles (Bus, Cargo and truck) and two lengths (5.5 and 6.2 m). The rear-drive van makes either 148 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque or 168 hp and 311 lb-ft from its 2.5L 4-cylinder diesel engine. The sole transmission option is a 6-speed manual.

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FCA showed off its Fiat Doblò. Taking the RAM ProMaster City as its inspiration, changes are concentrated in the frontal design and interior. The grill is now larger as are the headlights, and the bumper is new and more conventional in design than before. The interior continues the spread of the interior FCA first bestowed in American Chrysler offerings. Also new, there is a three-person, multifunctional front seat arrangement. Engines are turbo and naturally aspirated, gasoline, diesel or methane and include 1.3s, 1.4s and 1.6s, ranging from 75 horses to 120 hp. Traction comes from the front wheels and the model can be equipped with a new traction control system for slippery surfaces. Body styles are very configurable, being four and it can be had with two different lengths and heights.

Iveco-Vision-Concept-3

 

Finally, Iveco, FCA’s world commercial vehicle division (light and heavy duty trucks and vans) presented its version of what future Euro vans may look like. Called “Vision” it is, of course, an environmentally-friendly van that Iveco claims is a laboratory for future solutions and technical innovations.

The Vision is equipped with two modes of propulsion. One is purely electrical with zero emissions, and the other is a hybrid that reduces consumption and CO2 emissions by 25 percent. Making true to its name, the concept van has large windows, the front pillars are see through and there is a backup camera that projects its image onto a panoramic screen at the top of the windshield.

Inside there is a sensor based cargo management system that identify its placement in the hold and fire off contention systems impeding movement of larger items.

 

00-hyundai-hg350-van-1 01-hyundai-hg350-van-1 02-hyundai-hg350-van-1 03-hyundai-hg350-van-1 04-hyundai-hg350-van-1 06-hyundai-hg350-van-1 07-hyundai-hg350-van-1 07-hyundai-hg350-van-1 08-hyundai-hg350-van-1 09-hyundai-hg350-van-1 10-hyundai-hg350-van-1

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Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lord-i-was-born-a-ramblin-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lord-i-was-born-a-ramblin-van/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870458 Is Hyundai making a play for the commercial van market in North America? Automotive News seems to think so. These spyshots (from AutoGuide.com) show Hyundai testing a new large commercial van somewhere in Europe, whereas AN caught it testing in California. Either way, it’s clear that Hyundai wants in on the action that the Sprinter, Ram ProMaster and Ford […]

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Is Hyundai making a play for the commercial van market in North America? Automotive News seems to think so.

These spyshots (from AutoGuide.comshow Hyundai testing a new large commercial van somewhere in Europe, whereas AN caught it testing in California. Either way, it’s clear that Hyundai wants in on the action that the Sprinter, Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit are eagerly targeting.

 

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Nissan, PGE In Six-Week Commercial EV Market Research Trial http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-pge-in-six-week-commercial-ev-market-research-trial/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-pge-in-six-week-commercial-ev-market-research-trial/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844929 While Portland, Ore. may be the place where the dream of the 1990s is still very much alive and well, the 21st century — and Nissan — is bringing the city’s electric company up to date as far as electric vehicles are concerned. Autoblog Green reports the automaker has enlisted Portland General Electric to help […]

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Portland General Electric Nissan e-NV200

While Portland, Ore. may be the place where the dream of the 1990s is still very much alive and well, the 21st century — and Nissan — is bringing the city’s electric company up to date as far as electric vehicles are concerned.

Autoblog Green reports the automaker has enlisted Portland General Electric to help in a six-week trial of its e-NV200 electric van, recording data to help better determine the EV’s viability in the United States commercial vehicle market, as explained by Nissan Director of U.S. EV Marketing Toby Perry:

Oregon has been a top five market for Nissan LEAF sales in the U.S. due to proactive policies at the state level to encourage EV adoption, as well as robust charging infrastructure championed by the state and others like PGE. If we determine that e-NV200 fits into the U.S. commercial vehicle market, we expect that Portland would be a leading driver for sales as well.

Nissan is deploying two e-NV200s along the West Coast and within the Beltway, partnering with companies like PGE and FedEx to further its market research. Currently, the PGE project has placed the EV with an underground crew, swapping places with a large diesel van for the six weeks the research will be conducted. The e-NV200 will go on sale in Europe later this summer, and in Japan later in the year.

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Cain’s Segments June 2014: Commercial Vans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cains-segments-june-2014-commercial-vans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cains-segments-june-2014-commercial-vans/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:30:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841841 The only van not capable of improving its May 2013 U.S. sales figures in May 2014 possessed an in-showroom rival last month which didn’t exist a year ago. Ram Cargo Van sales fell 21%, or 209 units, in May 2014. But with the ProMaster making headway, total Ram commercial van sales jumped 84%. FCA is […]

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The only van not capable of improving its May 2013 U.S. sales figures in May 2014 possessed an in-showroom rival last month which didn’t exist a year ago. Ram Cargo Van sales fell 21%, or 209 units, in May 2014. But with the ProMaster making headway, total Ram commercial van sales jumped 84%.

FCA is not yet a major player in America’s commercial van category, but the ProMaster has, together with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Nissan NV200, stirred up the traditional full-size van market.

Ignore the smaller Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, and Ram C/V for a moment to focus on the full-size vans. 14.4% of the full-size commercial-oriented vans sold in the United States in May 2014 weren’t GM or Ford products, up from 10.9% in pre-ProMaster May 2013, and 3.5% in pre-NV May 2009.

This isn’t to suggest that Ford and General Motors are soon to lose control of the American commercial van industry. Indeed, in the coming months, Ford will combine two formulas: the new Transit will still wear a Blue Oval, the logo so many buyers associate with commercial van desirability, and it will also utilize all the European flexibility and diesel availability FedEx enjoys with its Sprinters.

Back in the here and now, Ford set a Transit Connect sales record in May with the model’s second consecutive year-over-year sales increase after a 29% first quarter drop. (Ford’s monthly sales releases don’t separate sales of the Transit Connect van from the minivan-fighting Wagon.) The Transit Connect sold more than twice as often as the Nissan NV200 and Ram C/V combined. Chevrolet’s NV200-based City Express should help form a viable Transit Connect opposition later this year.

Meanwhile, GM’s market share in the overall commercial van market slid only slightly from 30.6% during the first five months of 2013 to 30.5% year-to-date; rising to 35.6% in May 2014 compared with 33.5% in May 2013 and 27.5% in April 2014. Through the first five months of 2014, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana generated 43,314 U.S. sales.

Nissan commercial van sales more than doubled to 2678 units in May – the NV200 was only a two-month-old product at this time a year ago. Sprinter volume reached the second-highest level in the model’s U.S. history in 2013 and sales are up more than 23% in 2014. Year-over-year, Sprinter sales have improved in each of the last nine months, following four calendar years of improvement.

The overall category enjoyed a massive month in May 2014 as sales increased by 8524 units, a 28% boost. Sales are up 14% to 142,116 units so far this year, equal to 2.1% of the industry’s total output, up from 1.9% a year ago. It’s not a bad business in which to operate. The Volkswagen brand, for example, has sold 150,317 vehicles in 2014; Mazda has sold 130,223. Total pickup truck volume has risen 4% to more than 900,000 units through five months.

Auto
May
2014
May
2013
%
Change
5 mos.
2014
5 mos.
2013
%
Change
Chevrolet Express
9822 8353 +17.6% 31,378 31,734 -1.1%
Ford E-Series
14,269 12,571 +13.5% 55,115 52,783 +4.4%
Ford Transit Connect
4222 3709 +13.8% 15,226 16,914 -10.0%
GMC Savana
4124 1906 +116% 11,936 6320 +88.9%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
2264 1828 +23.9% 9282 7517 +23.5%
Nissan NV
1475 971 +51.9% 6231 5148 +21.0%
Nissan NV200
1203 341 +253% 4564 588 +676%
Ram Cargo Van
768 977 -21.4% 3808 3452 +10.3%
Ram ProMaster
1033 4576
Total
39,180
30,656 +27.8% 142,116 124,456 +14.2%

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Ram ProMaster Production Begins In Mexico, Will Commercial Van Buyers Embrace FWD? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/ram-promaster-production-begins-in-mexico-will-commercial-van-buyers-embrace-fwd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/ram-promaster-production-begins-in-mexico-will-commercial-van-buyers-embrace-fwd/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=495180 Around the same time that the one millionth U.S. built Kia rolled off a Georgia assembly line, the first Ram ProMaster was being built in a Mexican Chrysler factory. The ProMaster, a revised Fiat Ducato, will give Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealers a large commercial van to sell for the first time since the Mercedes based Sprinter went […]

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rampromaster_r

Around the same time that the one millionth U.S. built Kia rolled off a Georgia assembly line, the first Ram ProMaster was being built in a Mexican Chrysler factory. The ProMaster, a revised Fiat Ducato, will give Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealers a large commercial van to sell for the first time since the Mercedes based Sprinter went away in 2010.

 

It will be interesting to see how American businesses and tradesmen embrace the ProMaster. Unlike traditional full sized vans, like all of the competing products from Ford, GM and Nissan, the ProMaster has front wheel drive. Commercial and fleet buyers tend to be conservative. Look at how police officers and forces have regarded the FWD Impala, for example, compared to the Crown Vic. The Ram brand is hoping that FWD’s advantages, the lower load floor, greater headroom in back, more cargo space and improved fuel economy will offset concerns about durability as well as handling and traction when loaded. Conventional vans have a forward weight bias so adding cargo in the back improves handling and putting that weight near to the driven rear axle improves traction. Adding cargo to a FWD drive vehicle moves the weight bias away from the driven wheels.

It will take until the fall for the pipeline to fill with the new ProMaster and for the trucks to start arriving at the 800 Chrysler “BusinessLink” dealers that specialize in commercial vehicles.

 

 

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PSA, GM Discussing A Return For Peugeot And Citroen Products In The USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/psa-gm-discussing-a-return-for-peugeot-and-citroen-products-in-the-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/psa-gm-discussing-a-return-for-peugeot-and-citroen-products-in-the-usa/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 13:50:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494756 No, the headline is not just empty click-bait. According to La Tribune, GM and PSA are looking at bringing some current Peugeot and Citroen products to America. The only catch is that they’d be commercial vans. The Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert, the two vans in question, are currently built in a joint venture with Fiat due […]

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Citroën_Jumpy_Kombi_front_20110109

No, the headline is not just empty click-bait. According to La TribuneGM and PSA are looking at bringing some current Peugeot and Citroen products to America. The only catch is that they’d be commercial vans.

The Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert, the two vans in question, are currently built in a joint venture with Fiat due to expire in 2017. PSA is looking for a replacement solution, and with GM currently buying vans from Nissan (their NV vans are going to be sold as Chevrolets), it would be advantageous for GM to take advantage of their alliance with PSA and get something out of the deal.

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Say “As-Salamu Alaykum” To Yusuf al-Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/say-as-salamu-alaykum-to-yusuf-al-isuzu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/say-as-salamu-alaykum-to-yusuf-al-isuzu/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2012 17:34:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453597 Isuzu is joining the “let’s flee Japan and the rising yen” bandwagon, and their latest venture involves assembling export-bound trucks in Saudi Arabia. Just-Auto outlines Isuzu’s strategy, which has nothing to do with the VehiCross Isuzu can minimize the effects of the strong yen and better compete for what is expected to be a growing […]

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Isuzu is joining the “let’s flee Japan and the rising yen” bandwagon, and their latest venture involves assembling export-bound trucks in Saudi Arabia.

Just-Auto outlines Isuzu’s strategy, which has nothing to do with the VehiCross

Isuzu can minimize the effects of the strong yen and better compete for what is expected to be a growing market for commercial trucks as Gulf nations step up infrastructure investment.

Small and large commercial trucks will eventually be added in, with production reaching a total capacity of 25,000 units. As much as Isuzu is made out to be the butt of jokes in North America, their Middle East distributor network looks fairly robust – or at least more robust than the Lebanese parliamentary democracy.

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The Battle Of The Euro-Van: Ford And Ram To Take On Sprinter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/the-battle-of-the-euro-van-ford-and-ram-to-take-on-sprinter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/the-battle-of-the-euro-van-ford-and-ram-to-take-on-sprinter/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:51:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413999 Daimler’s Sprinter Van has been available in the US for ten years now, but thanks to high prices, inconsistent brand strategy (it’s been marketed as a Freightliner, Dodge, and now Mercedes), and some curious marketing choices, it’s never made a huge impact on the market. And with Ram announcing that it will bring Sprinter-sized Ducato vans to […]

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Daimler’s Sprinter Van has been available in the US for ten years now, but thanks to high prices, inconsistent brand strategy (it’s been marketed as a Freightliner, Dodge, and now Mercedes), and some curious marketing choices, it’s never made a huge impact on the market. And with Ram announcing that it will bring Sprinter-sized Ducato vans to the US, it seems like a good time to reflect on the words of Paul Niedermeyer, who wrote back in early 2010

Yes, I can muster some appreciation of Econolines of yore. But the painful reality is that the current E-Series is an ugly, primitive and inefficient pig virtually unchanged since 1974.  The fact that the American light truck sector hasn’t had the same revolution that European design influences have had on passenger cars is a mystery. Case in point: Ford’s Transit (not Connect) vans are a (several, actually) giant development leap ahead of the Econoline, offering FWD, RWD and AWD variants in three wheelbase lengths, numerous configurations, and driven by the most advanced diesels that can get well over 20 mpg. The Transit outsells Mercedes Sprinter in Europe. What the hell is Ford waiting for?

According to C&D, Ford was just waiting for the new Escape to go into production in Louisville, in order to free up production of the Transit at Kansas City. Apparently Ford has even filed trademark applications for a number of “T-Series” names, so expect a full line of Transit vans to replace the decrepit Econolines. And with three offerings in the large commercial van segment instead of just one, expect more choices, more competition, more marketing, and a general van renaissance in the US. At a time when minivans have become so unloved they’ve given rise to the now-ubiquitous crossover, it’s nice to see that the van make something of a comeback.

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