Every month What Van? will examine in turn the latest developments across every sector of the market. James Dallas kicks off with a look at the smallest end of the scale.
The light commercial vehicle market continued to bounce back in 2010 following the ravages of the recession, with all the major manufacturers reporting an upturn in sales.
There was also no shortage of new products and innovations coming to market, and much more is on the way in 2011.
We kick-off a new monthly sector-by-sector analysis with a look at the small van segment beloved of the fabled butcher, baker and candlestickmaker.
Aside from electric vans, which already escape the tariff, this is the part of the market poised to benefit first if Transport for London’s controversial refusal to exempt low-emission commercial vehicles from the London Congestion Charge is ever reversed.
Ford continues to dominate the LCV sector overall, accounting for more than one-in-four new sales in 2010, so it is no surprise that the Fiesta Van sets the pace in the small van sector.
Winner of the What Van? Small Van of the Year award for the second year running, the Fiesta Van once more raised the bar in terms of driving and environmental performance – the Econetic variant is the first van with CO2 emissions breaking the sub-100g/km barrier.
Sales of the Fiesta Van increased from 2429 in 2009 to 3116 last year, and the model goes into 2011 with engines that meet and exceed Euro 5 emissions requirements. Power has also been boosted across the range, and the 1.4-litre diesel has an additional 2hp to bring it up to 70hp, while the 1.6 has increased from 90hp to 95hp. The 2011 model also gets a diesel particulate filter and trip computer, while the base specification gains 2hp to bring the 1.25 Duratec engine up to 82hp. A trip computer is now standard on this derivative too.
The SportVan added another feather to Fiesta’s cap last year by picking up Thatcham’s inaugural Green Van award, which recognises high security standards coupled with low carbon emissions. Thatcham said Ford’s commitment to ‘design out’ crime reduced risk for both insurers and the motoring public.
With 110g/km CO2 emissions the SportVan features high-security door locks that are anti-burst and shielded with strengthened mountings. It also comes with the Blue Oval’s patented Passive Anti-Theft immobiliser and standard perimeter alarm.
In 2010 Citroen rolled out its Enterprise package across the Nemo small van line-up.
All Enterprise models include air conditioning, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors. A spokesman claims Enterprise is a package “nobody else can touch” in addressing “communication, comfort and safety issues”. The spokesman went on to claim that Citroen now fits more satellite navigation (Trafficmaster Smartnav), TrackStar stolen vehicle tracking technology and air-conditioning on small vans than any other manufacturer.
A telematics package is available for £399 plus VAT, while the Fleet Director fleet management programme, which utilises the Smartnav telematics platform, costs £19.99 a month, excluding VAT.
This year the manufacturer will unveil a raft of new innovations, such as Euro5 compliant models.
Citroen’s PSA stablemate Peugeot introduced Euro5 HDi diesel engines to its 207 and Bipper vans in September last year.
The 207 got an HDi 70 with CO2 emissions of 110g/km and an HDi 92, which emits 115g CO2/km. The introduction of the Euro5 drivetrains reduced first-year VED for the 207 van by £75 to £125.
Peugeot’s Bipper is now also available with a 1.3-litre HDi 75 diesel unit with stop/start technology, which delivers CO2 emissions of 109g/km and fuel consumption of 68.2mpg. The introduction of the new Euro5 engine has also resulted in the Bipper’s payload increasing by 50kg to 660kg.
The manufacturer increased the warranty on the Bipper to 100,000 miles in 2010 but the cover for the 207 van remains at 60,000 miles.
In line with its decision to simplify its passenger car range towards the end of last year, Renault also streamlined its offering in the small van segment. As a result the baby in its line-up, the Kangoo Compact, is now only available as a Freeway SL 17 dCi 70. Renault says it has brought equipment levels in line with those of key rivals. The Compact has two option packs (Aircon+ and Convenience) and available features include a sliding rear roof flap and swiveling bulkhead. It comes with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty.
As yet there are no plans to introduce an electric version of the Compact to join the larger Kangoo EV, which goes on sale
this year. A spokesman for Renault says the space required to fit a battery under the floor could compromise payload too much on the smaller model.
Vauxhall has revamped its Corsavan for the 2011 model year, giving its smallest LCV new colours and a spruced up interior.
From January the Corsavan has also sported an all-new front end with a signature chrome bar bearing the latest Griffin badge, which stretches across the front grille. The refreshed model also has a re-styled front bumper and eagle eye headlamps.
It comes in two trim levels, Standard and Sportive. The new look follows the introduction of Euro5 engines to the Corsavan in September 2010.
Last year the manufacturer also introduced its greenest Corsavan – the 1.3 CDTi Ecoflex Start/Stop, which has CO2 emissions of 105g/km.
Fiat Professional has added a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel 75hp Euro5 engine to its Grande Punto van to join the existing Euro4 version. The brand also revised its Fiorino range in October 2010 with Euro5 engines coming on board. Internal trim and dashboard changes include a bigger display with gearshift indicator and black finish for all plastic interiors.
A new 95hp drivetrain is now offered, which Fiat claims is not available on PSA derivatives. All Euro5 models come with start/stop technology as standard.
In addition, Fiat has introduced new Adventure versions based on the Fiorino SX. Standard kit on these includes Traction Plus, higher ground clearance suspension, 15-inch wheels, under-engine protection, silver protection on the lower front bumper, and plastic side protection. Payload has increased from 610kg to 660kg.
Three Euro4 derivatives will remain on sale throughout 2011, but Euro5 versions offer four new options – alloy wheels, cruise control, 12V plug in the rear and pre-disposition for TomTom satellite navigation.
Electric Pack creates a mid-level between Base and SX trims and includes central locking with remote control, deadlocks, automatic door locking at 3mph and electric mirrors and windows.
A new range of Euro5 Fiorino Combis is now available: Combi Standard 75hp, Combi Standard 95hp, Combi Adventure 95hp and Combi Adventure 95hp with four seats.
The Blue&Me option now features Ecodrive, the software designed to save on fuel and wear and tear that also includes iPod connection.
From January 2011, all Fiat Professional vans sold get three years of AA road assistance and warranty of up to 120,000 miles.