How to Determine What Size Van You Need?

Being such a significant purchase, it’s no surprise that some people find it difficult to narrow down their options when buying a new van. Whatever you’re looking for, your main criteria should be reliability, practicality, and value. Which of these attributes you value most will be highly dependent on your line of work, though, so it’s crucial you appropriately determine what kind of van you need.

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GMC Conversion Vans

You may have heard the term “conversion van” floating around your head. It’s important to know the differences between the several types of vans out there. It will help you to determine which of van is perfect for you and your needs. So just what is a conversion van?

Basically, it is a full-size cargo van that has gone through different modifications to create a more functional van. Modifications are completed on the vans to maximize their functionality and produce more favorable conditions for customers. These conversions are generally done by third-parties, rather than the original manufacturer of the van.

History of the Conversion Van

The first vans of this type were first seen in the 70s and 80s. These early vehicles generally just had a few seats installed into the cargo area, often had custom artwork painted on the sides, and were popular with rock bands. Their ability to carry multiple passengers at the same time brought a great amount of appeal to the vans.

After the mid to late 80s, these vans started featuring more luxurious features such as padded seats, custom lighting, and wood trim. The features enhanced the driving experience for many of the owners and produced a more comfortable atmosphere in the interiors. In addition, families and older folks started using them as the ultimate camping and road trip autos.

These vans also started to see features such as sleeping quarters, cooking appliances, as well as televisions and DVD units.

These vans start as a full size, windowless ½- or ¾-ton cargo vans. For instance, GMC conversion vans may start with the GMC Savana or other such vehicle. Upgrades are added to these base models to “convert” them to a vehicle that will do more than just haul stuff around.

Four Types of Conversion Vans

Currently there are mainly four types of conversion vans:

Motorhomes that begin with a full-size cargo van that is then increased in length by a few feet. These vehicles feature camping and road trip friendly features such as, microwave, refrigerators, and toilets. These are very family friendly for long road trips. These are also still very popular with rock bands on tour

Disability vans have modifications that allow it to be wheelchair accessible, including a higher door clearance and roof height. Often these vans feature hydraulic lifts.

Office vans function as traveling offices complete with a desk and chair fastened to the floor. These types of vans are particularly popular among traveling salespeople.

Travel vans are perhaps the most popular today. They feature many of the comforts that make traveling pleasurable including beds, kitchen and cooking appliances, and storage cabinets. These vans also have equipment such as TVs and DVD players, as well as sound systems.

As you can see, there’s a conversion van for almost any need. If you are looking for such a van, you can find several companies that can help you.

  

Daimler to offer a 16-passenger Sprinter van

The commercial van market went from being a 1970’s market with all of 2 players to a fledgling segment. Nissan will launch their new entry this fall (NV2500) and now Daimler is showing a 16-passenger Sprinter van that an be ordered directly from a Mercedes-Benz or Freight liner dealership that sells Sprinter vans. Then next year Fiat/Chrysler are rumored to be bringing some type of variant to the Doblo Euro Van. The Ford E-Series is the king of the hill with some help coming from the Transit vans so this segment will only get more crowded and interesting.

From AutoNews.com:

CHARLESTON, S.C — Daimler Vans USA is expanding its Sprinter model line with the addition of a passenger van that seats up to 16 people. The van is designed for hotel shuttle service, paratransit and other applications.

The vehicle can be ordered directly from a Mercedes-Benz or Freightliner dealership that sells Sprinter vans. Sales begin this summer. Pricing has not been announced.

Dan Barile, a Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman, said four different interior configurations will be offered including a model with a wheelchair lift that can handle up to 8 passengers. Daimler Vans is a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz USA.

Read the full article here.

  

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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