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.
If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you.
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%.
In a push to expand Southeast Asia sales, Mitsubishi has purchased a Ford assembly plant in Laguna, Philippines for an undisclosed amount.
After abnormally high GM commercial van sales results in the United States a year ago, it wasn’t surprising to see dramatic year-over-year sales declines reported by the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana in July 2013.
800 workers at a Daimler plant that builds Sprinter commercial vehicles downed their tools and walked off the job after wage talks collapsed.
Mazda is not doing too well. Stuck with most of its production in high-yen Japan, woefully underrepresented in emerging markets and without the scale necessary for long term success, Mazda is expected to announce a 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) loss for the fiscal year that ends this March. Mazda has three options for survival: Pray, bet on Skyactiv, and save wherever you can. In the save wherever you can department, Mazda says sayonara to commercial vehicles. (Read More…)
Chrysler is dropping half a billion dollars into an expansion of one of its North American plants, Automotive News [sub] reports. This is where Chrysler will produce (to what degree remains open) its Fiat Ducato van, which will be sold as a Chrysler Ram Van.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler, told reporters in Detroit that this plant will be “the center for production of light-commercial vehicles in North America for us.” Red-white-and-blue blooded flag-wavers may object to the location of the plant. It is about 180 miles southwest of Laredo, Texas. In Saltillo, Mexico. (Read More…)
Are you familiar with the Fridolin? If so, hit the jump. If not, here’s the brief version of its history. Unhappy with its adorable but inadequate, two-cylinder Goggomobil Transporters, the German Postal Service approached Volkswagen and Westfalia in the early 60s, looking for a new interpretation of what it was looking for, namely “arbeitspsychologisch optimaler Ausstattung zu einem günstigen Anschaffungspreis.” This is a tough phrase to translate, but essentially it means “equipment optimized for the workplace psychology, at an affordable price,” and in 1963 that’s what the VW-Westalia team delivered. A mixture of Type 1 (Beetle), Type 2 (Bus) and Type 3 (Fastback/Squareback), the Type 147 was first shown to the German Post in 1963, and was quickly nicknamed “Fridolin” (an uncommon German boy’s name) apparently because workers said “it looks like a Fridolin.” Only 6,126 were built between 1964 and 1973, and they continue to enjoy a strong collector’s cachet (primarily as slammed campers, apparently). And now, Volkswagen wants to re-create the classic… for the future.