By on December 28, 2012

It’s got an awkward name but it’s a vehicle whose niche will never disappear. A “sedan delivery” is a commercial version of the station wagon that has metal panels replacing the glass in the vehicle’s rear (photos here). They were originally used by small businesses as service and delivery vehicles and it’s such a practical vehicle that they never really will go away. They were made out of ’57 Chevy Nomads, they made them out of Pinto wagons and they currently are being made out of Chevy’s HHR retro panel truck thing. Now Ford Europe is getting back into the sedan delivery business. To accommodate those businesses that need to transport tools and replacement parts but don’t need the capacity of something like a Transit Connect, Ford of Europe has introduced the new Fiesta Van, based on the Fiesta hatchback.

Solid panels replace the rear quarter windows and the back seat is replaced by a payload area with a load length of 1.3 meters and  a capacity of 1.0 cubic meter.

A steel bulkhead is mounted behind the seats for security and there are four cargo tie-downs that meet DIN standards for load restraints.

1949 Pontiac Streamliner Sedan Delivery at RM Auctions’ 2012 St. John’s Sale. Photo courtesy of Cars In Depth.

As you’d expect, there’s a rubber mat, not carpet in back, and Ford says that the cargo hold is lined with “durable sidewall trim”. Payload is about 500 kg, which in American terms, makes this a half ton trucklet. Two diesel engines and one gasoline engine are offered and the Fiesta Van can also be ordered in ECOnetic form, which comes with a 1.6 L TDCi diesel, auto-start-stop, low rolling resistance tires, slightly lowered suspension and some aero pieces.

The commercial Fiesta will be available with Sync and the Ford MyKey system, which allows fleet owners to limit top speeds just like parents of teenagers. No word on if the Fiesta Van will be available with Ford’s Crew Chief fleet management system like it’s North American market commercial vehicles.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper and get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks  for reading– RJS



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35 Comments on “Ford Brings Back the Sedan Delivery – New Fiesta Van for Europe...”

  • avatar

    Needs Pinto style round cruising window.

  • avatar

    It would be cool if we got the three door version of the Fiesta.

    The MINI Clubvan, which is coming here, is longer, but it will probably price out against a relatively huge Transit Connect. It will be a marketing tool as much, or more than a logistics tool.

    The kind of business that can get away with using a panel Fiesta is probably going to be fine with a regular Fiesta with folded seats (vynl wrap the rear windows if you want ad space). And a regular Fiesta is probably cheaper than what Ford would charge if it added the tooling for a small volume panel Fiesta to its Mexican plant.

    My understanding is that the big reason these exist in Europe is that certain countries offer substantial tax advantages for vehicles that are “commercial” because they lack back seats, back windows, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      In California, you would pay a slight penalty on your annual plate fees. A commercial vehicle pays an additional “weight fee” that passenger cars do not. Granted, its based on weight, so the Fiesta would be the minimum, but its still more than the hatch.

      Ive already seen PepBoys use Fiesta S sedans to replace the Rangers for delivery vehicles.

  • avatar

    Ford has made variants of the Fiesta van since the 1970s. There is nothing new about the body style or concept.

    “My understanding is that the big reason these exist in Europe is that certain countries offer substantial tax advantages for vehicles that are “commercial” because they lack back seats, back windows, etc.”

    They exist because it isn’t really necessary for most people to have a massive commercial vehicle. In Europe, fuel is expensive and parking in urban areas is scarce.

    • 0 avatar

      Depending upon each country, these tax concessions truly exist. I reside in South Korea and such car-based vehicles are common.-They are referred to as “Vans” and they lack rear seats, and often have the bulkhead. They are taxed at a lower rate. I’m sure many European countries have similar schemes.

      • 0 avatar

        The point isn’t whether there are concessions — they do exist.

        The point is that it isn’t necessary for most people to have an eight-cylinder behemoth that drinks gas as if it’s going out of style. These vehicles are well adapted to an environment in which fuel is expensive and space is limited. An American-sized pickup truck would be more of a burden than a benefit in a European urban area.

    • 0 avatar

      Vehicles like the Ford Transit Connect exist in Europe because space is tight and gas is expensive. A three-door Fiesta that can carry barely anything, and really nothing more than a passenger Fiesta with folded seats, is for tax evasion.

      • 0 avatar

        “A three-door Fiesta that can carry barely anything, and really nothing more than a passenger Fiesta with folded seats, is for tax evasion.”

        You need to leave the US on occasion. We aren’t the norm, we are the exception.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh for fu*ks sake. Now you have to assume to know about my life? I’ve been to Europe many times. And I see plenty of couriers using compact cars in the US in big cities. But in the US couriers get the sight advantages of side windows in back, and the flexibility of a folding rear seat, because there are no tax advantages in the US for not having those features. Don’t tell me there is any theft advantage to no side windows in back, since the rear window is glass.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        If there is a steel bulkhead behind the seats then is there any reason at all for the rear hatch window?

        I’d lean a little towards racer-esq.’s view BUT if you were to remove the rear seats in a car and try to fit them into any of the Amazon boxes you have left over from Christmas shopping, you’d find that you would need a multiple boxes and a saw to make them fit. In other words, that is a lot more lost cargo space than it would seem at first glance.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t get me wrong. I think this thing is cool as hell. I would buy one with a manual transmission in a second for commuting and autocross (probably slightly less weight than a regular Fiesta, without the rear seat and since steel weighs less than glass) and carrying around my dog. But if I was a courier company I would probably just get a regular five-door fiesta with automatic for flexibility and resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Forgive me if I’ve missed a major point here as I’m super drunk and not at my sharpest right now, but…

      I’m pretty sure Ford of Europe has been selling this variant of the Fiesta van (Panel van) in Europe for ages. This is nothing new. The New Edge style Fiesta had a van option, the model before that had a van model and the Kinetic design model already has one.

      So, what’s the point of this article? This style of van is nothing new and is (as far as I know) always been around and never gone anywhere. At least, I don’t think it has….?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes they have. Other companies offer similar vehicles as well, vauxhall/opel has the astra-/corsavans, and they exist for tax reasons probably VAT deductions. In Sweden, where they wouldn’t receive any taxbrakes due to cargo size, they´re non starters.

  • avatar

    Small cheap delivery vehicles will always be around but most US businesses would probably opt for a used Chevy HHR instead.

    But a normal two door Fiesta would be great – the front doors on the 4 door version are simply too small.

  • avatar

    Now that Pontiac, THERE’S how you do a delivery van.

    This is really stretching a bit. It’s too small to fit anything substantial, and it’s ugly. Also, I didn’t know they were still making the HHR at all. Ew.

  • avatar

    Back-up camera and tinted rear window to evade prying eyes would be sensible standards. What no Fiesta WAGON van?

    Why Nissan never considered the Cube – I suppose it may detract from image here. But there’s a worthwhile try right there.

    On a different footing – I’ve seen the cargo bicycle materialize here from Europe. Seems only snobs in NA ride for show-off effect. Yet to catch one being used for the intended thing.

    • 0 avatar

      I have seen pizza delivery in compact college towns via bicycle but only with regular bicycles mounting hot boxes over the rear wheel.

      Nissan’s upcoming van for taxi use NV200 might be an another delivery alternative.

  • avatar

    Now this is a sedan delivery….express delivery.

  • avatar

    This type of car never really left. In Europe (or at least parts of Europe) you can get panel van versions of a number of small hatchbacks – Citroen C1/Peugeot 107, Fiat Punto, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Dacia Logan, Microcar M.Go, Ligier IXO, and of course, the Ford Fiesta has been offered this way for ages. In the not too distant past, the Skoda Fabia, Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Rover 25/MG ZR were offered in this bodystyle too.

  • avatar

    My favorite examples of the type are the modified Citroen CX Loadrunners. They were used for ambulances or high speed delivery of newspapers in Europe. Many examples can be seen at

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    “They were made out of ’57 Chevy Nomads” Actually 55-57 Chevy Sedan Delivery’s were based on the more plebeian 210 not the sporty more rakish Nomad. Too bad Chevy never built the new version of the Nomad show car from a few years back which was based on the Sky/Solstice.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought it was based on the Nomad because the sedan delivery has two doors. Was the 210 available in a two-door?

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Yes, the 210 was available as a 2 two-door wagon as well as 2 two-door and 4 two-door sedans. The Bel Aire was the upmarket model and available in hardtop versions and 4 door wagons.

        From Wikipedia
        Body styles
        two styles of two-door station wagon, the top-of-the-line Bel Air Nomad with a sloped pillar behind the hardtop door and sliding windows at the rear seat, and the basic Handyman with an upright sedan B-pillar and a C-pillar, where the four-door wagons have one, available only in 150 and 210 trims. The four-door, six-passenger station wagon, the four-door, nine-passenger station wagon (both called Townsman in the 150 series and Beauville for the Bel Air version),
        The 2-door station wagon could not be had with Bel Air trim, except as the Nomad model which had its own distinctive styling, mainly in the roof line and rear deck.

        From Wikipedia again 1955 Chevrolet under models: Utility Sedan: 3-passenger, 5-window sedan with a rear trunk.

        I never knew they offered a base 150 2 dr sedan with no back seat just a parcel shelf. I thought those went out of style in the early 50’s aka Business coupe thought the base Subaru XT had no rear seat just a package shelf with a warning label warning passengers not to sit there.

      • 0 avatar

        MRF you are exactly correct about it being a 210 and I really think there may have been some 150’s as well. I was stuck with just my phone today and I don’t type well with that so you beat me to the punch. Chevy blurred the lines sometimes and one of them made wikipedia wrong. Don’t see a place to post a picture here but Ronnie if you give me an email I will send them.

        The pictures would be of the bel aire trim on the dash of my car. It is a two door wagon with post that I preferred to the Nomad. Weird maybe but my choice. A handyman special. Bought it in 1972 and parked it till I retired from the Navy. Rebuilt it a lot and drove it till gas hit $4/gal for the first time. The title says it is a Bel Aire 210. 150’s could not be had in that trim level.

        Wrote an article for curbside classic and you can find it if you search Lee Wilcox and possibly 57 chevy. Sedan deliveries were never Nomads so far as I know.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        According to Wikipedia: The 55 Chevy 2 Door Station Wagon: 6-passenger, 5-window wagon with drop and lift gates were available in 150,210 and Bel Aire series. The Sedan Delivery only in 150 series.

        For some reason there is no Wikipedia page for 56 Chevy only 55 and 57.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t know if Chevrolet offered different trim levels (150,210)of the sedan delivery. I know Ford did with the 1957-58 as they did with the Ranchero and the later Falcon-based sedan delivery – not a different model, just a different check mark on the order form if you wanted the custom or deluxe trim. I came fairly close to buying a ’65 Falcon SD, took a two hour drive to look at one, found out it had too much rot on the floors and both rocker areas, was disappointed but nonetheless turned it down.

        As far as the new small SD’s, call me picky, but I’d pass on the Fiesta version, but like the MINI Clubman version. If they offered a SD version of the new Focus five door, I’d consider that. Aside from maybe being OK for the Nerd Patrol house calls, it’s cargo area is too small for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Here are some things I think I know:
        Chev made 2 door wagons in the 150, 210, and Nomad levels

        The belaire trim was available in 210 also (I own one). It has the trim and the title so states. Wikipedia probably does not have one.

        I do not know any difference except trim between 150-210

        Sedan deliveries were made from 150s (MRF was right)

        I can show you pictures of a 57 210 sdn del. Probably modified.

        There were also some earlier 4 door chev sdn deliveries

        Canadian pontiacs were really chevies from firewall back till way after pontiac sdn del production stopped.

        Memory is the second thing to go. Thanks for making me dig.

        As a former air conditioning guy I never thought they lost their usefulness. Sdn del would have done 90% of the work of a service work. A small trailer would have completed it. These new ones are a little small but think it is still true. I used a datsun with a camper and it was no better than the 57 210 that still sits in the drive.

    • 0 avatar

      Glad someone corrected the author assuming that there was a ‘Sedan Delivery’ version of the Tri-5 Chevy Nomad. It had its own unique roof, which is why it got dropped from low sales at the time. Tooling expensive for low sellers.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought that the 2004 Nomad concept car was so great-looking and ideal for my purposes I wrote a letter to Bob Lutz saying I would put my money where my mouth is and buy one if it went into production. A lot of it was parts-bin stuff and would have been pretty simple to do using the Solstice underpinnings and Bob wrote back offering some slight encouragement. I guess GM was too busy driving over the cliff at the time so nothing happened. The market niche for guys wanting miniature two-door station wagons in retro design remains unfilled.

  • avatar

    In Brazil these things exist for ages. If I’m not mistaken, Fiat did a version of this in the Uno from the 80s. VW copied the idea and launched a Gol. The Uno still exists I’m sure, the Gol I believe so. The advantage in Brazil is that they cost a little over 20k reais. Fiat also has Fiorino (Kangoo/Doblo-like shaped off the Uno) atarts at 33k and Doblo Cargo (+40k). Chevy si trying to break into the market again with something similar based on Montana mini PU.

    Then there are the real vans. The VW Kombi still going after 60 years (around 45k reais), plus the large vans. Fiat (which also makes a Peugeot/Citroën versions), Renault, Ford and Mercedes.

    Oh, almost forgot there1s also an assortment of Chinese minivans but the guv policies and bad reputation for maintenance and aftersale support has really hurt them. Sales are way down.

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve existed for ages in Europe too. And depending on the country’s legislation on commercial vehicles, the rear windows would be present or not. I’d expect them in France but not in Portugal.

      In the lower end of commercial vans, most car makers (except high end brands) offered two options:

      a) 3-door version of a B-segment car with rear seats removed (of which this fiesta is a recent example).

      b) B-segment car whith a redesigned rear compartment for cargo: Citroën 2CV fourgonette, Acadiane and C15, Renault 4 fourgonette and then the Super5 based Express, Fiat’s 1st 2 generation of Fiorino (127 based and Uno based).

      Even the european arms of Ford and GM started offering the 2nd option in the 90ies (the Opel Corsa based Combo and the Ford Fiesta based Courier) when they’d been offering panel van derivatives of their C-segment wagons since the late 60ies/early 70ies (Escort and Kadett/Astra based).

      The second category was replaced in the late 90ies/early 2000 replaced by dedicated vehicles based on C-segment platforms (Renault Kangoo, Peugeot Partner/Citroën Berlingo, Fiat Dobló, Ford Transit Connect, 3rd gen VW Caddy). They had grown so much that smaller vans had to be introduced: Renault’s Kangoo Express and the FIAT/PSA triplets (3rd gen Fiorino/Qubo, Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper).

  • avatar

    A cubic metre is not bad. That’s over 35 cubic feet, which is almost half that of a Toyota Rav4 or Saab 9-5 wagon (both at 73 cu ft).

    For some reason, Ford states that the 5-door Fiesta hatch only has 26 cubic feet with the seats folded, so those seats must take up a good bit of space. Why is that so much smaller than the Honda Fit?

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