As our Commercial Director, David Blackmore revealed in a previous blog from the NEC CV Show earlier this year, not all of our fleet work revolves around cars at Fleet Alliance – a significant part of our business is in commercial vehicles too.
Earlier this summer, we helped CET, which provides specialist outsource services to the insurance and construction markets, replace the majority of its 70 commercial vehicle fleet in one go.
So I thought it would be a good idea to pop along to the German city of Hanover for the IAA 2016, which was held a couple of weeks back in September, to have a look at what the big van makers would be launching in 2017.
Germany is a long way to go, so to save you the shoe leather, here’s my top five from the show – which includes a completely new brand to the light commercial vehicle world.
Ford Transit six-speed auto
2016 has certainly been the year for the evergreen Transit, with the launch of greener, more efficient 2.0-litre EcoBlue versions of the Transit and Transit Custom. To strengthen the Transit’s position further, particularly for operators in urban environments, Ford released SelectShift auto versions at the show. Perfect for delivery drivers, it has six-gears and is able to tell when the van is on a hill or carrying a load and change gear accordingly. This auto box will be available on 130 and 170bhp versions of the EcoBlue engine.
Not heard of the MAN brand before? No surprise as the German brand, part of the Volkswagen Group, is better known for building trucks rather than vans. But now it’s having a stab at the van market and the TGE, revealed at the IAA, is the result. And if you think the TGE has more than a passing resemblance to the all-new Volkswagen Crafter then you’d be absolutely right. The MAN TGE is effectively a lightly reworked version of Volkswagen’s big van, that’s just been announced as Van of The Year 2017. You’ll have to wait until late next year for the TGE to be available over here.
Replacement for the former Primastar, the Nissan NV300 was revealed at the IAA. Revised nose aside, you’ll have probably spotted the similarity between the new Nissan, the Fiat Talento, Renault Traffic and Vauxhall Vivaro – because it’s basically the same van. In fact, the only key difference over rivals, has to be the long five-year warranty – which might swing the deal!
Finally shown in the metal at the IAA, is Renault’s new pick-up alternative, the Alaskan. It certainly looks the part, with the Renault family nose seamlessly grafted on to the current Nissan Navara body. Underneath the looks, though, it’s all Nissan. But great to have this alternative pick-up choice available to customers.
The new Volkswagen Crafter was probably the ‘big’ van of the show, having its debut at the IAA 2016. Gone are the boxy looks and shared Mercedes Sprinter underpinnings, to be replaced by a unique chassis and curvier, sleeker style. These all add up to the Crafter being the sleekest van in its class with a Cd of just 0.33.
Underneath the curvy body, there’s a choice of four versions of the familiar 2.0-litre TDI diesel in 100, 120, 138 and bi-turbo 175bhp outputs. Coupling with the four different engines, new Crafter buyers will have the choice of manual or automatic transmissions, with front, rear or four-wheel drive. The big news is three different vehicle lengths, depending on model and three different roof heights.
Volkswagen will also be offering a range of specialist body styles from the Polish factory to suit particular needs.