General Motors Discontinues a Chevrolet That's Also a Nissan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
general motors discontinues a chevrolet thats 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 [s]Fiat Doblo[/s] 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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  • 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.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.