Sector Analysis: Medium vans

Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The launch of the Ford Transit Custom mid-sized light commercial vehicle is dominating the news, but, as James Dallas reports, it is not the only show in town…
Ford’s launch of its new one-tonne Transit Custom will inevitably hog the headlines in the medium van sector in the final quarter of 2012.
Unveiled in a glare of publicity at the Commercial Vehicle Show in April, the Transit Custom arrives in showrooms in November.
The Transit got a major facelift in 2006, but this is the first all-new model to emerge since the turn of the century. With the introduction of the Custom badge, Ford has now moved to clearly differentiate the mid-sized Transit from its bigger brother.
The brand promises a step up in sophistication and comfort with the newcomer, resulting in a more refined driving experience, but with no loss of functionality.
The Custom is powered by Ford’s 2.2-litre TDCi diesel unit with outputs of 100, 125 and 155hp.
The addition of stop/start technology as standard helps to deliver official combined cycle fuel consumption of 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 178g/km.
Transit Custom prices range from £17,495 to £25,245, excluding VAT.
Elsewhere in the medium van segment PSA Peugeot Citroen has agreed to supply mid-sized LCVs to Toyota for the European market. Initially the models will be based on the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch and sold under the Japanese manufacturer’s brand name. However, the deal is set to cover the next generation of PSA’s vans as well, with supply expected to continue until at least 2020.
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) will contribute to the development and investments costs of the new LCVs but the arrangement does not include the companies entering into joint production or capital tie-ups.
TME boss Didier Leroy says the deal will serve to bridge the gap to Toyota customers following the withdrawal of the Hiace model and enable the brand to remain competitive in the medium van sector.
Vauxhall is to begin production of its next-generation Vivaro at its Luton plant next year. The manufacturer claims the decision to retain production at the facility has safeguarded 1500 jobs.
However, production of the Renault Trafic, which currently shares a platform with the Vivaro at Luton along with a small number of Nissan Primasters,
will switch to Renault’s factory in Sandouville, France, from 2013. The next generation of the H2 high-roof Vivaro, which accounts for about 2% of sales, will also be built at Sandouville.
Citroen displayed its facelifted Dispatch van at the Commercial Vehicle Show. Supertrucks, one of the French brand’s partners
in its Ready to Run conversion scheme, has upgraded the specification of its glass-carrying racks for the Dispatch to improve aerodynamics and has added the option of a retractable ladder for faster access to the roof rack.
From October the company is introducing optional Enterprise packs for the Dispatch range. For £880, excluding VAT, the packs include rear parking sensors, connecting box for Bluetooth/USB, air-conditioning, full steel bulkhead, and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors.
In the used market the VW Transporter continues to top the residual value league, according to Glass’s Guide, with the performance of the Mercedes Vito “markedly less impressive”.
Glass’s says well-presented Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert vans with low mileage are selling easily, but notes that a glut of high-mileage Trafics and Vivaros has put prices under pressure.
With growing numbers of the Ford Transit 260 and 280 doing the rounds, Glass’s says only the best examples are selling to Guide Trade prices.



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