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A year in vans 2013: Part two

  • 24 December 2013
  • By George Barrow

If the first half of the year was anything to go by, the second half of 2013 would likely see a slow down in the number of new product launches, and in the absence of a major motor show manufacturers had little opportunity to launch their new offerings to the world.

Nevertheless, during the summer Renault announced its intentions to sell a commercial vehicle variant of its Twizy electric car. Buoyed by interest in its Kangoo ZE and a burgeoning portfolio of electric passenger cars, Renault said its Twizy Cargo, a one-seater commercial vehicle with a payload of 75kg, would cost £650 less than the passenger car at just £6,241.

July brought with it new variations of the Transit Custom, with Econetic and Sport packages. Having been previously announced earlier in the year, this was the first time the new models would appear on the road. Needless to say, they didn’t disappoint, with the racy Sport model turning heads on every street, and the frugal Econetic making good on its claim of a 13% improvement in fuel economy over the standard models.

In the same month that Ford finally closed the doors at its Southampton facility ending more than 40 years of production at the site, Vauxhall celebrated the 900,000th Vivaro van to roll off its Luton production line. The van went to one of Vauxhall’s most important customers, The AA, who were in the process of taking delivery of 356 new Vivaro during the year, as part of renewals to its 3,000-strong van fleet. Edmund King, AA President, said during the handover: “One of the main things for our patrols is getting a vehicle that is practical, safe, and economical. We don’t just look at price, all those other things are essential, and when we looked at our renewals this year, the Vivaro has come out on top. It’s a significant investment, close to £4m, and we are delighted it’s a model that’s built in Britain and that helps the local economy as well as helping the AA, our patrols and our members.”

It is common knowledge that the Vauxhall Vivaro and Renault Trafic will be replaced next year, but we don’t expect to see the new collaboration until April. However, an early peak at the two new designs arrived in September, when test mules were caught on the roads of France.

The new Trafic/Vivaro will almost certainly be in the running for the International Van of the Year title next year, but the winner of the title for 2014 was awarded in September to the Ford Transit Connect. The small Transit narrowly edged out the Euro-6 Mercedes Sprinter, to give Ford the win for the second year in a row after the Transit Custom claimed the 2013 title.

Next year will be a busy year for new vans, with revisions expected across the board for Euro-6. Ford will be looking to make it a hat-trick of IVOTY awards, but with a new Mercedes Vito, Iveco Daily, Fiat Ducato and a range of Volkswagen products all set to launch, the competition has never looked quite so fierce.


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