General Motors Discontinues a Chevrolet That's Also a Nissan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
general motors discontinues a chevrolet that s also a nissan

General Motors, the automaker that once took badge engineering to dizzying new heights, is culling a slow-selling carbon copy from its lineup. The Chevrolet City Express, a small, front-drive panel van you’ll be forgiven for not remembering, will no longer be available to commercial buyers, GM says.

Essentially a Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo with a chrome grille and bowtie badge where the word “Nissan” should be, this body double gave GM a cheap North American entry in a small commercial van market dominated by Ford Motor Company. It seems buyers preferred Ford by a wide margin. Don’t worry, though — there’s still a CVT-equipped van available for repairmen with oddball tastes.

News of the City Express’s quiet demise comes by way of GM Authority, which secured word from GM that dealers are no longer taking orders for the lumpy little van. The vehicle went on sale in late 2014 as a 2015 model.

A straight-up badge engineering job, the hardly Americanized City Express was assembled in Mexico and made do with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (131 horsepower, 139 lb-ft of torque) and a continuously variable transmission. Its starting price split the difference between the Compact Cargo S and SV.

If owning a small, cheap, Japanese panel van is a must, Nissan will still happily sell you an NV200 Compact Cargo for about the same money Ford demands for its base Transit Connect. For those with a taste for the exotic, the Fiat Doblo Ram ProMaster City is ready and willing to haul your crap around.

From the get-go, buyers had little time for the City Express. The first full year of sale proved to be the model’s best, with 10,283 units sold in the U.S. in 2015. Last year’s volume amounted to 8,348 vehicles. In contrast, Ford sold some 34,473 Transit Connect vans in the U.S. last year, which is down from the model’s high point of 52,000-plus vehicles in 2015. (Ford is determined to expand its smallest van’s footprint with a host of 2019 updates.)

Production of the larger Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans continues at GM’s Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant.

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 41 comments
  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Mar 22, 2018

    No big surprise, at the volumes they were selling it wasn't worth it to stock those Nissan parts and print brochures.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 23, 2018

    Someone mentioned that Nissan makes an electric version of this. With enough range, that would make a cracking taxi. I wish Ford would put their C-Max Energi powertrain in a Transit Connect. I like my C-Max a lot. I'd like it even more if it looked like the box it came in and sat three rows of drunk Uberistas or half a ton of Ikea. Seems like a no-brainer. Folks don't have much of an incentive to buy a smaller van unless it comes with a smaller fuel bill, and Ford's current plan for that--downsize the already-marginal engines--doesn't really jibe with big loads.

  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!
  • Cardave5150 UAW is acting all butt-hurt that their employers didn't "share the wealth" when they had massive profits. They conveniently forget that they have a CONTRACT with their employers, which was negotiated in good faith, and which the Remaining 3 are honoring, paying them exactly what they negotiated last time.
  • Kwik_Shift That's a shame.