As Nissan North America (Nissan NA) prepares to launch its first full-sized commercial van in the U.S. and Canadian markets, its parent company, Nissan Motor Co., has been busy growing its lineup of light commercial vehicles developed for Europe and other global markets. The question is whether any of those vehicles, especially a small van for urban applications, might help Nissan N.A with its stated goal of offering a broad array of light commercial vehicles here.
At the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany, last week, Nissan Motor Co. unveiled the NV400, a large van that will compete with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in Europe. It also showed the NV200, a small van introduced last year, as an electric-vehicle (EV) concept truck.
The NV400 is unlikely to find a home in the U.S. and Canada. Nissan NA’s NV2500, which will go into production here in the U.S. early next year as a 2012 model, is roughly the same size as the NV400, but was specifically designed to meet North American market requirements, according to a spokesperson for Nissan NA. In particular, the NV2500 has a cab-on-frame and engine-forward design better suited to N.A. applications, he told FleetOwner.
The NV200 may be another story. Sized well for urban commercial applications, it could fill an important market niche now only served here by the Ford Transit Connect.
While offering no official confirmation that the NV200 is heading here, the spokesperson said, “We’re looking at other [Nissan global] products that might be suitable for North America, and there have been public statements made that we’d like to have [the NV200].”
In particular, the EV version of the small van is a likely candidate for U.S. and Canadian sale. Nissan has already indicated that the battery-powered van will be its second EV, following the highly publicized introduction of the Leaf passenger car.
“It certainly looks attractive for certain commercial applications, and Nissan NA is committed to having a range of electric vehicles, not just the Leaf,” the spokesman said.