Tag: Vans

By on October 15, 2020

While van sales have been trending downward for years, the likelihood of your average American being forced to live inside one feels like it should be higher than ever. But deciding which model is best for living out the rest of your days in relative isolation isn’t going to be easy. Realizing that there’s a growing demand for escape vehicles and regular old RVs, automakers and coachbuilders have been trying to make the market more accommodating.

On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. threw its hat into the ring by announcing that the 2021 Transit would be adding new “recreational and business options” to help get customers the kind of vehicles they need to get through these difficult times.

“With many Americans working from home and practicing social distancing during the pandemic, the popularity of recreational vehicles has soared at the same time package delivery has seen incredible growth,” explained Tiffany Chang, Ford fleet brand strategy manager. “Our new 2021 Transit options help people design the recreational vehicles of their dreams and help enable our commercial customers to more efficiently deliver goods and services across the country.” (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter commercial van has worn several badges, but come the end of next year, there’ll be only one. As the automaker works to slim down its sprawling global lineup, the lesser-known Freightliner variant will cease production.

Manufactured via knock-down kits in South Carolina, the Freightliner van, like Dodges of yore, will fade to black, but Sprinters will remain in the M-B stable. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2020

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Limited with S Appearance - Image: Chrysler“How bad is it? And how bad is it going to be?”

Those were our questions five months ago when describing the American minivan category’s paltry 408,982 sales in calendar year 2019. At that time, the rate of decline experienced by the segment suggested that, “America won’t even acquire 300,000 minivans next year.”

Enter novel coronavirus and, consequently, a second-quarter in which auto sales in the United States tumbled by a third. For perspective, that’s 1.5 million fewer sales between April and June of 2020 than during the equivalent period one year earlier.

Meanwhile, as quarantines and lockdowns and isolations and shutdowns caused new vehicle demand to shrink, the previously beloved minivan segment saw its share of the U.S. market absolutely crater. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2020

The Rare Rides series has featured around 10 special edition cars in past, depending on how generous you are with the term.

And while every special edition presented here thus far was designed to add some padding to a manufacturer’s bottom line, today’s special edition McDonald’s van had a much more benevolent purpose.

(Read More…)

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…)

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