ORLANDO, FL. Taking a cue from its customers, Chevrolet will be filling a gap in its commercial vehicle lineup with a new small cargo van that will reach the market in the fall of 2014. The Chevrolet City Express will be based on the Nissan NV200 van but will represent the Chevrolet brand, General Motors officials said here yesterday during the GM Fleet & Commercial 2014 Product Review.
“We’re going against the [Ford] Transit Connect and we’re going to have a better van than them and we’re going to have a more fuel efficient van than them,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM Fleet and Commercial Sales.
GM and Nissan have a reached a partnership deal for the vehicle that will last several years, Peper said. Without disclosing the actual term, officials said it is one that will give Chevrolet a chance to assess the market for small vans and its customers the confidence to know that this will not be a short-term program.
“We have over 3,400 Chevy dealers to market it,” Peper said. “We’ve had the best vans in the marketplace six years in a row in the upper end and this gives us a van in the lower end.”
“With four competitors in the marketplace by fall of next year, I think the segment will grow. Customers want fuel-efficient vehicles,” Peper added.
The City Express will use the Nissan powertrain, which includes a 2L, 16-valve dual overhead cam 4-cylinder engine rated at 131 horsepower and 139 lbs.-ft. of torque. It will be available in two trim levels, the LS and LT, and features 1,500 lbs. payload capacity and 122.7 cu. ft. of cargo space.
Initially available only in cargo configuration, the van will be built in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The front end of the vehicle is “totally new and represents the Chevy brand.” Package options will differ from Nissan’s offering as well, including optional side windows.
All service for the vehicle will be handled by Chevy dealers. The vehicle will be covered by a 5-year, 100,000-mi. powertrain warranty and 3-year, 36,000-mi. bumper to bumper warranty.
The maintenance warranty includes up to four services per year, tire rotation, oil changes and more. The program was also announced yesterday and will be available on all commercial fleet vehicles.
Peper said the City Express program has been in discussion with Nissan for quite a while. “This has been one of the best kept secrets [we’ve] ever had. We’ve been working on it for a while. We liked the product [and it made sense],” he said.
The LS model will include a continuously variable transmission, 4-wheel antilock brake system, 15-in. steel wheels, fold down passenger seat with seat back tray table, center console with storage for file folders, laptop, etc., upper dashboard mounted storage bin, 40/60 split rear cargo doors with 180-deg. max opening, 20 integrated interior reinforced cargo mounting points, six exterior roof rack mounting points, six standard air bags and electronic stability control.
Power heated outside mirrors, power door locks with auto locking feature, remote keyless entry, and cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls are added to the LT trim level.
Options will include weld nuts for attaching bins, d-rings affixed on the floor to allow securing of cargo from side to side and front to back, floor cover for entire cargo area to protect the vehicle and cargo, standard dual sliding doors to allow easy access to cargo from either side of the vehicle, standard full–size spare tire, two different wheels with three different appearances, spotter side mirrors for wider angle vision, technology package with navigation radio, steering wheel audio controls, USB input, rear view camera, XM Radio and Bluetooth, and appearance package with body color bumpers, mirrors, door handles and chrome grill with black accents.
In addition to a new powertrain package, the Sierra includes a new interior with two glove boxes, center console and door panel storage and a 6-gauge cluster. It also includes new ergonomics, which make it the “most refined and quietest Sierra ever,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of marketing for Buick/GMC.
Also included are four upfitter switches with 30 amps of power that can switch between battery or ignition power. The extended cab model has been eliminated in favor of a double cab, which includes forward opening rear doors.
Both the Sierra and Silverado will be available with three engine choices, a 4.3L V-6, a 5.3L V-8 and a 6.2L V-8 from the EcoTec3 engine family. All are designed to provide increased power, torque and fuel efficiency.
Each engine features standard direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management, which means they seamlessly switch to run on four cylinders during light-load driving to save fuel.
The 5.3L V-8 is EPA rated for 23 mpg highway in the 2WD model and 22 mpg in the 4WD version. That’s 2 mpg better than any competitor, the company said.
For fleet customers, GM also announced a new Chevy Cruze turbodiesel rated at 46 mpg and executives spoke briefly to the assembled customers at the reveal about the new “mid-sized” pickups that will replace the discontinued Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
“Together, the full-sized and mid-sized pickups will deliver a truck lineup unmatched in the industry,” Peper said.