The Italian manufacturer is targeting the competition by adopting a clearer specification regime for its 3.5t Daily.
Iveco’s Daily is going on sale in Business trim as the manufacturer adopts the same approach to specifications as rival players in the 3.5t sector. At present the vehicle is sold solely in entry-level guise, with customers left to choose from a variety of option packs if they want to upgrade it.
“Business trim will be competitive with other mid-level trims in the sector,” promises UK business line director, light, Mike Cutts. He cites Ford Transit’s Trend and Volkswagen Crafter’s Trendline as examples.
Meanwhile, a top-end level of specification, which would sit above entry-level and Business, looks unlikely at present.
“Middle-level trim is the sweet spot and we expect that 30% to 50% of our sales mix will move to it,” says Cutts, who was formerly national rental manager at VW Commercial Vehicles.
At the time of writing he was unwilling to reveal what Business-badged models will feature. It is, however, worth noting that Transit Trend specification adds a heated windscreen, front fog lights, cruise control with an adjustable speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, and a number of other extras to the entry-level Leader trim.
Iveco is also relaunching its one-stop-shop ready-bodied range of Daily chassis cabs. All models will be covered by a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which will embrace both the chassis and the body.
“We used to have a centrally managed one-stop-shop programme called DriveAway for Daily but it fizzled out,” admits Cutts.
At 3.5t the revived scheme will include a dropside, a tipper and a Luton with or without a tail lift. They will all be available subject to a contract hire deal arranged through Iveco Capital, the first time the Daily has been marketed with an in-house contract hire package.
Revamped not long ago, the Daily range has filled out with the arrival of a high-rise 4x4 in chassis cab, crew cab, chassis cowl and van guises. Gross weights range from 3.5t to 7.0t.
“We’re targeting the emergency services, the utilities and the Ministry of Defence among other potential customers,” reveals Cutts. “It’s a robustly constructed vehicle that offers a good payload.”
He confirms that a new electric Daily will not appear in the UK until 2022 and that it will be more competitively priced than previous models.
“We’ve seen what Fiat Professional is doing with the e-Ducato and that gives us a benchmark,” he comments. “By 2022 there should be a bigger volume opportunity for us and we should be able to maximise it if we bring the electric Daily in at the right price.”
Not that the e-Ducato is cheap. Prices start at £47,675 excluding VAT and after the government’s plug-in van grant, with the first UK deliveries expected before the end of the year.
Back in January Cutts had every reason to be optimistic. He was able to report that Iveco had achieved a 4.3% share of the 3.5-7.2t market in 2019 with the Daily.
“We’d set our sights on a 25% growth in volume for 2020, which would have left us with a 5% share of a market, which we anticipated would be similar to the one in 2019,” he recalls. “That would have meant 4,500 registrations.
“At the end of quarter one the market was tracking well, and we were scoring a 6% share. We were flying.”
Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Demand plummeted, Iveco shut plants for six weeks, and everything went quiet on the sales front from the end of March, all through April, and well into May, a fate shared by all light commercial manufacturers.
“From mid to late May onwards, however, we began to see some
signs of improvement and demand bounced back in June and July,” Cutts says. “I think what we are seeing is a V-shaped recovery in our sector of the market.”
That said, things are not back to where they were before the coronavirus ran riot.
At the time of writing Iveco was winning a 6.2% share of 3.5-7.2t sales. “The sector is down 40% year-to-date, however, so although we’re getting the share, the volume of registrations is lower,” he says.
He expects 2020 to end with a 20% overall drop in the 3.5-7.2t market, but his aim is still to take 5% of it for the full year.
“If we can escape 2020 having achieved that, then we won’t have done badly,” he says. “And we’re aiming for a 6% share next year.”