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Editor: John Mortimer
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Renault to supply light CV to Fiat from 2016
Renault and Fiat have
signed an agreement whereby Renault will supply Fiat with a light commercial
vehicle based on a Renault platform.
The styling of the Fiat
vehicle will be developed by Fiat and will feature unique and distinctive
elements on the model, branded Fiat Professional.
vehicle will be manufactured by Renault in France starting from the second
quarter of 2016.
agreement raises more questions than it provides answers. Where, for example, does
this leave the agreement Renault has with General Motors for the Trafic/Vivaro?
raises another question: What of the deal between Renault and Mercedes-Benz
whereby the French company provides Mercedes with the Citan van, being a
derivative of the Kangoo?
the new light CV will be a different class of vehicle to the Vivaro/Trafic, and
smaller than these two vehicles. Could it be a replacement for the Fiat Doblo
built in Turkey? Interestingly, General Motors buys the Doblo and markets it as
the Vauxhall Combo.
of Vivaro at the Luton Van Plant in the UK gathers momentum after summer
shutdown. Renault will build its version, the Trafic at its huge Sandouville
plant near Le Havre, in France.
Each company, GM and Renault have made investments in tooling
and contributed to vehicle engineering. Vauxhall in Luton will use Renault
powertrain and the Luton plant will build only Opel and Vauxhall versions,
whereas previously it also built Trafic vehicles for Renault under a previous
agreement between GM and Renault. This latest move suggests there will be some spare
capacity as the plant can build more than 70,000 a year. How will GM use that?
Without Renault vehicles, it is up to Vauxhall and Opel to sell
as many vehicles as they can to fill capacity as best they can from the
viewpoint of maximising resources at the Luton plant.
As for the Citan, known inside Mercedes-Benz as the W415, this
is the result of the partnership betweenDaimlerand theRenault-Nissan
Allianceand is assembled byRenaultsubsidiaryMCAin the northernFrenchtown ofMaubeuge, alongside its sister
vehicle theRenault Kangoo. Daimler
had a van agreement with Volkswagen AG, but that has ended as both OEMs build
their own versions.
The varied body styles of the Citan stem from a vehicle aimed at
both passenger car and light CV markets. The Citan is the first Mercedes-Benz
to be launched into thecommercial
vehicle marketsinceVitoin 1995. Daimler claims the light van sector is the
fastest-growing market area in Europe, accounting for 700,000 sales annually.
In North America, the
market is responding fast. Chrysler, owned by Fiat, has launched the Ram
ProMaster City, based on the Fiat Doblo from Europe but powered by Chrysler's
2.4-litre Tigershark four-cylinder gasoline engine. It is front-drive and will
use the company's new, fuel-efficient nine-speed automatic. The engine and
transmission also are used in the new Chrysler 200 sedan and the Jeep Cherokee.
Built in Turkey, the City
will be sold in two-seat cargo and five-seat passenger versions and be able to
carry 1,883 pounds in its 131.7 cubic feet of space. The cargo area measures
60.4in by 87.2in and has a building panel-friendly 48in between the wheel
wells. City goes on sale in early 2015.
The new vehicle joins the
Ram van line-up that includes the larger Ram ProMaster Euro van and the Ram
C/V, a commercial version of the Chrysler minivan.
At the same time, Ford
Motor Company has begun production of the 2015 Transit van at its Kansas City
Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.
Transit replaces the
venerable Ford E-series van, first sold in 1961 as the Ford Econoline. Ford
will continue making E-series vans during the 2014 calendar year as Transit
production ramps up.
This is the first time Ford
will build and sell Transit in North
America. But North America’s gain was the UK’s loss. Ford shuttered its Transit
production in Southampton and transferred production to Turkey.
Ford claims it has
invested $1.1 billion and added 2,000 new jobs to the Kansas City Assembly
In the US, of the Big
Three, that leaves GM. How will it respond? It has a brand new Euro van in the
UK, the Vivaro. Could that be sold in the US?
In Europe, the picture is
muddled. Last year, Daimler AG and Renault SA proclaimed that they continued to
identify new projects together as they expanded their global cooperation to include
partner Nissan Motor Corporation will supply Daimler with the NV350 Urvan which
will be sold under its Mitsubishi Fuso brand in selected export markets.
"We will continue
to seek out new projects together that make sense for all partners,"
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at a news conference at last year’s Frankfurt
The manufacturers have
gradually added projects to their three-year-old cooperation, originally
focused on Daimler's Smart city cars and Mercedes-Benz delivery vans.
According to Renault sources, the latest agreement with Fiat has "no impact" on the GM-Renault agreement, or for that matter on the Daimler-Renault agreement. Renault sources also hint the agreement could be for a "medium van" in the segment where Fiat sells the Scudo vehicle.The Fiat Scudo shares its shell with the
Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, and is good to drive, but the Ford Transit
Custom carries more
The current Scudo was launched
in 2007, built in a joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroen, which also produces
the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert. Fiat withdrew from the joint venture
in 2012 and was replaced by Toyota, giving rise to a fourth variant, the Toyota
Production of the Scudo is
scheduled to continue until 2016. The Scudo is available in five body styles,
with short-wheelbase low-roof L1H1, long-wheelbase low and high-roof L2H1 and
L2H2 models, as well as two recently launched crew van models based on the L1H1
Scudo uses French-made powertrain
in the form of 1.6- and 2-litre diesel engines sourced from PSA Peugeot Citroen. So the light commercial
van picture continues to evolve.