Chevrolet City Express small cargo van discontinued due to low sales

Article by Christian A., on July 31, 2018

The Chevrolet City Express small cargo van has been in the market since 2014 (2015 model year). Designed for customers seeking a small fuel-efficient, cargo vehicle, the City Express has silently reached the end of the road, as General Motors has already stopped taking orders and building of this small work van.

While it is now too late for the Chevrolet City Express to make a sales comeback, GM was literally silent about the fate of Chevy’s small cargo van. According to a report by the Automotive News citing a spokesman from GM, dealers were informed of plans to drop the City Express as early as Summer 2017. Chevrolet received orders for the small cargo van only until September 2017, with the production of the last units of the 2018 City Express officially ended in February 2018.

In 2013, GM and Nissan Motors inked an agreement for the Japanese carmaker to build a small cargo van – the Chevrolet City Express – as based on the Nissan NV200. The Nissan NV200 is a compact yet spacious commercial boasts of low cost of ownership. Designed as both a passenger and a commercial vehicle, the Nissan NV200 is being sold in several markets around the world, including in the United States and Canada.

As part of the agreement, Nissan was to build the Chevrolet City Express at its assembly plant in Cuernavac, Mexico. GM was to procure the rebadged NV200 from Nissan and distribute the small cargo van via its Chevrolet dealer network starting November 2014. GM had hoped that the City Express would reinforce its position with fleets and commercial customers, who had demand that the American carmaker deliver an entry in the commercial small van segment.

It turned out, however, that the Chevrolet City Express wasn’t the small cargo van that could deliver on GM’s expectations. GM had expected to get at least a small chunk of the small-van segment in the US – which has been dominated by the Ford Transit Connect -- without needing to spend a lot for research and development, new equipment and facilities, necessary manpower and upgrades, as well as parts production and final assembly.

While the Chevrolet City Express did manage to penetrate the small-van segment in the US, its sales were minimal compared to the segment leader. From November 2014 to the end of production, Chevrolet has only sold less than 30,000 units of the City Express. On the other hand, Ford has been selling an average of over 42,500 units of the Transit Connect since 2013.

Sales of the Chevrolet City Express topped at 10,283 units in 2015, when Ford sold over 52,200 Transit Connects and Nissan delivered more than 17,300 NV200s. Sales of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram ProMaster City vans were even higher at that year at more than 11,000 units.

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