Tag: Vans

By on June 10, 2020

Trail Trek Tour 2019 - 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 (1) - Image: Ford

Wednesday brought an expanded alliance between Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen, with the two auto giants inking a deal for the joint development and construction of a range of products.

Since last year’s tie-up, the desire among the two companies to use each other’s strengths to address gaps in the market has been well known, though today brought specifics.  (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2020

nissan

No, not the minivan market. We’ve covered that at length. We’re talking van vans — the slow-moving ones that used to terrorize your author as a child. (Turns out that media-driven social panic was mostly nothing, but I digress…)

Word comes to us that, as automakers recede from the commercial van segment, Nissan might be prepared to do the same. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2020

gm

General Motors isn’t confirming a Reuters report that claims the automaker’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant will give birth to an electric commercial van. Such a product would give GM a leg up in a fledgling segment that’s yet to be exploited by the likes of Tesla.

Commercial vans aren’t glitzy products, but they do sell in significant numbers. More importantly, rival Ford has released a plug-in hybrid version of its Euro-market Transit Custom and has promised an electric Transit for North American customers for 2022. For a company hoping to match Ford product-for-product, this will not stand. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

Rare Rides has featured a couple of JDM import vans previously, namely the Mazda Bongo and Toyota Town Ace. Today’s van is of similar JDM fashion, except this Mitsubishi is one of the few examples actually sold in North America during the model’s very short domestic run.

Let’s learn a bit more about the only large van Mitsubishi ever sold in America. Once again, it’s Van Time.

(Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

Image: 1994 Toyota Previa

Some segments and roles just don’t mix. While unfavorable bodystyles and vehicle sizes can be kitted out for sport or luxury, perhaps even succeeding in their mission, sometimes a vehicle’s basic fiber — its core identity — proves an impossible match for its newfound mission.

Sometimes a car is too ponderously large for serious muscle car competition (Mercury’s bargelike, Marquis-based Marauder X-100) or too small and basic for well-padded luxury transport (the earliest Chevrolet Cavalier-based Cadillac Cimarron). Like a dumb-as-rocks linebacker donning a tux and attempting to make conversation at a literary society soirée, these vehicles didn’t fool anyone.

Now, what about the lowly, plebian van? (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020


Much like our recently presented Tempo, today’s Ford is a well-kept oddity that’s already considered a classic due to its age. A ho-hum family van, the Aerostar was the sort of vehicle that got well-used and (usually) rusted by its eighth birthday.

Today’s short-wheelbase beauty, however, made it to 26.

(Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

gm

Kurt Cobain had only been dead a year when General Motors launched the Chevrolet Express family of commercial and passenger vans. Two and a half decades later, the Express is still in its first generation, with the model’s sole facelift now 17 years distant.

Despite facing ever stiffer competition from the likes of Ford, the Express and its GMC twin, the Savana, remain an important product for GM, with the Express selling over 77,000 units in 2019. It’s far less refined than the Ford Transit, but it’s tough. GM ditched the half-ton chassis after 2015, focusing on three-quarter and 1-ton variants ever since.

The model, paid off by the time Y2K became a concern, isn’t being completely taken for granted by its parent. For 2021, the Express family sees moar power. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

It doesn’t come as a surprise, what with Ford’s concerted push in this direction. Nevertheless, Ford Motor Company announced late Tuesday that its Transit van, most often seen wearing a gleaming, sterile shade of white, will soon don a cloak of green.

The Blue Oval aims to be the first major player in the electric commercial vehicles market. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

Van culture is making a comeback. We know this because the media has glommed onto the topic as young adults continue to share stories about how not having a mailing address (because they live in vans) is the best thing that ever happened to them.

While you’re unlikely to encounter these people all that regularly offline, the internet is full of them. And yet there’s no real consensus as to the appeal of custom vans. Plenty of people embrace the van life because they see it as an affordable way to tour the countryside; others view it as part of the minimalist movement, or simply as the best way to avoid becoming totally homeless.

Want more than a tent over your head while camping? Need a place to wait out the impending civil war? Simply feel the need to capitalize on a trend that’s growing in popularity on YouTube? Van living has you covered — and Mercedes-Benz is ready to help.  (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2020

2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris front quarter

Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who spend the majority of their days in a van of some sort. I’m not talking about the beautiful people on social media hashtagging their rebranding of the Seventies-era shaggin’ wagon as “vanlife.” I’m talking about tradespeople, for whom a van is as important a tool as a hammer or pipe wrench.

For most of my working life, I’ve worked alongside these van drivers — I’ve been selling various products to these workers for the better part of two decades. I’ve noticed over the years that the variety of vans has expanded recently. Where the parking lot of whatever supply house was once filled with cookie cutter vans from the Detroit Three — occasionally dotted with repurposed minivans — these days any variety of tall, Euro-styled boxes-on-wheels might greet me.

The Sprinter was the leader of this new vanguard, with workers praising improved driving dynamics and improved space efficiency. Now a smaller model comes, the Mercedes-Benz Metris, to deliver much of those improvements in a more city-friendly package. Can this sturdier (not-so)minivan replace the stalwarts?

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2020

A special day has arrived here at Rare Rides. Our subject is modern, sleek, and the Cadillac of Minivans. That’s right, it’s Van Time with the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

This must be some sort of irony-steeped Radwood thing. How else to explain the sudden resurgence in enthusiasm for a mid-sized van that loitered in General Motors’ lineup for two uneventful decades?

It seems there’s a concerted — though perhaps not entirely honest — effort to return the lowly Astro to the Chevrolet stable. It’s a plaintive wail that will absolutely fall on deaf ears in the boardrooms of the Renaissance Center. And so it should. (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

For decades, the Japanese market has loved vans of all shapes and sizes, ranging from basic kei to fully-loaded VIP luxury. Rare Rides has touched on JDM van time just once previously, with a luxurious and capable 1990 Toyota Town Ace. Today we’re taking a look at what Mazda offered a Nineties Japanese consumer of vans.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

Startups come and go, and in the age of electrification a great many companies are issuing promises their meagre resources can’t deliver.

Time will tell if a reborn Morris Commercial follows through on a plan to return the iconic J-type commercial van to the rainy streets of Britain — and beyond. Retro appeal has its perks, but getting a new production vehicle, least of all an electric one, off the ground and into garages is fraught with challenges. So, without further introduction, here’s the Morris JE. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2019

Amazon

Isn’t Rivian the popular thing these days? Courted by Amazon and Ford with investments of $700 million and $500 million, respectively, the Michigan-based EV startup recently gained a cash infusion from Cox Automotive.

Now, that very first investment is bearing fruit — 100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window. (Read More…)

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