Carmakers bring in work vans to cater to higher US demand

Article by Anita Panait, on June 12, 2013

The commercial van market is currently experiencing a strong surge in sales in the United States, thanks to a booming house construction sector and an improving economy.  As plumbers, carpet installers and painters look for the right vehicles that suit their needs, carmakers like Daimler AG, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC are all introducing new large work vans to the US.

These are not the traditional big commercial vans like Chevrolet Express and Ford Econoline, but are those sporting a more aerodynamic, European look – just like Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. Around a dozen years ago, the Euros-styled Sprinter van was considered very odd due to its looks. It featured straighter sides and a taller roof than conventional vans.

But now, the commercial van market is filled with similar-looking vehicles.  This is may be due to the increasing pressure for carmakers to offer vans that do not only offer practicality but also fuel efficiency. Claus Tritt, who heads Daimler's U.S. commercial-van business, told Bloomberg in an interview, "We are no longer the oddball."

Commercial vans have proven to be a good source of income for carmakers, specifically due to the fact that they are the preferred vehicles of fleet customers like FedEx and PepsiCo as well as private customers who are connected to the booming housing market.

US customers are more likely to buy Euro-styled vans as they seek vehicles that boast improved fuel efficiency and utility. This may likely be the reason why Ford is bringing a larger Transit van in 2014 to replace its segment-leading E-Series work van. The carmaker will build the Transit at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Topics: van, united states

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