GM and Ford are about to face even more competition in the commercial van market, a space they’ve dominated for decades. Drafting on Nissan, which shipped the first models of its NV-series vans in February, Isuzu and Chrysler have thrown themselves into the commercial van market with models of their own.
Isuzu partnered with Utilmaster Corp. to develop a walk-in commercial van, the Reach. According to FleetOwner, the Reach will be 35 percent more fuel efficient than existing commercial vans and will feature a 3-liter diesel engine. Fleet managers can choose from two wheelbase options (134 in. and 151 in.) and three body lengths (10, 12 or 14 ft), granting storage space ranging from 450 to 630 cubic feet. Isuzu will begin production this summer.
Chrysler, for its part, will repurpose two Fiat models to be branded under the Ram Trucks umbrella, according to Lisa Priddle with The Detroit News. The Fiat Ducato, a full-size model, and the smaller Fiat Doblo will be reintroduced next year under Ram branding. Chrysler will position the larger Ducato against established vanguards, such as Ford’s E-Series and the Chevy Express. Nissan’s NV series also competes in this class. The Doblo (rebranded name as of yet undecided), will go against Ford’s Transit Connect, a smaller, European-style model. Chrysler is rumored to be developing an electric-version of the Doblo, which would compete against Ford’s electric Transit Connect, scheduled to hit production later this year.)
In other news, Chrysler announced it would rebrand its Dodge Grand Caravan, a popular passenger model, as a cargo van suitable for business use. CNET’s Suzanne Ashe reports that the new model, the Ram C/V, will feature a one-ton payload and a 3.6 liter V6 with 25 mpg highway. The Ram C/V will start at $22,635.
More about fleet management on The SmartVan.