Commercial Van Market might include Vito Van from Mercedes


Mercedes-Benz has been sufficiently pleased with the performance of its Sprinter van that it is now seriously considering importing a smaller sibling for its full-size load lugger.

Benz has offered a smaller commercial vehicle, the Vito, in various world markets since 1996, and the second-generation model underwent a mild facelift in 2010. Available with a range of CDI diesel engines in both cargo and passenger-carrying configurations, the Vito has recently been testing in all-electric E-Cell guise. If the Vito does make it to North America, we’re unlikely to get the complete range – this light commercial vehicle is available in three lengths, two roof heights and in both rear- and all-wheel drive.

While the Vito is indeed smaller than the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter carryall, it’s not as diminutive as the Ford Transit Connect we’ve come to know in the States. In its smallest form, the baby Benz spans 187.5 inches, nearly seven inches more than the Turkish Ford. In extra-long format, the Vito rings up at 206.2 inches, which is still well shy of the aged Ford E-Series van (216.7 inches in its shortest form), making the Vito something of a tweener in size.

For the moment, our source tells us that the idea of importing the Vito is in “an early stage,” and even though consumer clinics have been held to judge market interest, the van has not yet been given the green light.

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Nissan’s NV200 commercial van beats Ford for taxi prize in NYC

This is a major victory for Nissan and the all new NV200 commercial van! In some ways this is even better than an award as can you just imagine how many potential business customers will be riding in these new Nissan vans in the Big Apple?


The iconic New York City taxi cab will soon look like a Nissan van, following a competition that pitted the Japanese automaker against two other finalists. Under a 10-year contract, Nissan won a deal to supply New York City’s taxis starting in 2013.

The new cabs will be based on Nissan’s NV200 commercial van. Among its special features will be a “low-annoyance” horn that works in tandem with blinking lights to gently urge pedestrians and drivers to get out of the way.

It will also have a mobile charging station and USB outlets that can be used by passengers.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the Nissan vans was the cheapest of the three to buy and operate, according to city officials, largely due to its fuel efficiency.

Click through for more on the Nissan cab and the other two finalists for Taxi of Tomorrow.


Chrysler/Fiat set to enter commercial van market in North America

Add Chrysler to the list of companies entering the recovering commercial van business. This business resembled a 1970’s market with Ford and GM dominating approximately 95% of sales.

Per, the automaker will use its partnership with Fiat SpA to bring a pair of Italian commercial vans, the Ducato and the smaller Doblo, to North America next year to compete in a segment that is rebounding as businesses start spending again.” These entries from Fiat/Chrysler will join the Nissan NV stable of vans that just went on sale in February of this year. Sales of commercial vans probably bottomed so this could be just the right time to enter this segment as the rebounding curb could be significant. With that being said it won’t be easy to pry away those fleet sales from the longtime champ E-Series from Ford Motor!

Chrysler Group LLC wants to become a player in the recovering commercial van sector.

The automaker will use its partnership with Fiat SpA to bring a pair of Italian commercial vans, the Ducato and the smaller Doblo, to North America next year to compete in a segment that is rebounding as businesses start spending again.

The plan is to introduce the two vans under the Ram brand next year as 2013 models, said Fred Diaz, Ram president.

The commercial van segment is dominated by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., which represent more than 95 percent of sales with the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana and the Ford Econoline/Club Wagon, as well as the new Ford Transit Connect.

Daimler AG’s Mercedes Sprinter is the other competitor in the segment. Under DaimlerChrysler AG, the Sprinter was sold as a Dodge, but after the two companies split, the Sprinter was reclaimed by Mercedes, leaving a hole in the Dodge lineup.

Read the full article.


Nissan entering commercial van market

Looks like Nissan is entering the commercial van market and it’s with a van built in the USA. Ford has owned this segment for the past 40 years and I’m sure they’ll do whatever they can to hold onto market share. Also, Fiat has plans to enter this market with one or two products coming over from Europe so look for this segment to start having real competition.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Nissan will challenge General Motors’ and Ford’s stranglehold on the market for full-size vans when it unveils its big NV today.

The large van is the first from a foreign brand to go after a small but profitable business segment U.S. automakers have had to themselves. Nissan will build the van in its under-utilized Canton, Miss., assembly plant. The van shares its basic engineering with the Titan pickup Nissan builds in Canton.

“The commercial van segment has been relatively ignored” by domestic automakers, simply because there’s not enough competition to force them to improve their vehicles, said Joe Castelli, Nissan vice president for commercial vehicles and fleet sales.

Read the full article here.


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