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Chevrolet borrows to enter compact cargo van market

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Chevrolet introduced the 2015 City Express, their new entry in the commercial compact cargo van market at the Chicago Auto Show this month. They already were in the full-size sector with the Chevrolet Express.

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Over the last two years, compact cargo van sales have grown to 15% of the total commercial cargo van segment.

Total commercial cargo van segment sales in the U.S. in 2013 were 312,000 units with the compact sector of the segment selling 45,000 units.

Until now, the compact sector of the segment has been targeted by just two manufacturers - Ford with the Transit Connect and Nissan entering in 2013 with their NV200. Ford sold 40,000 Transit Connects in 2013 with Nissan selling 5,000 (entering late in the year).

The new 2015 City Express will be aimed at that group of urban business owners and fleet managers who want a smaller alternative to full size cargo vans (like the Chevrolet Express or Ford Econoline) - that will offer in-the-city maneuverability and cargo-hauling flexibility with efficiency and low operating costs.

Chevrolet is coming a bit late to the party. So, to get into the compact sector of the segment quickly, they are sourcing their 2015 City Express from Nissan with it being essentially a Nissan NV200 badged with the Chevrolet logo.

The new 2015 City Express from Chevrolet will offer 122.7 cubic feet cargo space, a tight turning diameter of only 36.7 feet and have an estimated payload capacity of 1,500 pounds.

Cargo space utility in the City Express is key to its desirability. It offers 4’6” of space from side wall to side wall inside and can accommodate a standard 40” x 48” pallet flat on the floor. From just behind the seats to the rear doors, the cargo deck is 6’10” long. And, with the passenger seat folded down, the cargo length is 9’8”.

The power train for the 2015 City Express is the same as the Nissan NV200 - a 2.0L inline-four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing and rated at 131 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels.

The 2015 Chevrolet City Express will come in two trim levels, LS and LT.

Complete detail by trim level was not available at the introduction.

But Chevrolet did share that the LT will have items like remote keyless entry with automatic locking feature, cruise control, backup sensors and heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors standard.

A technology package will be available on the LT that includes a 5.8-inch diagonal touch screen, navigation, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB input and a rearview camera system.

They added that Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, back-up sensors and 12-volt power outlet will be available on LS models.

Chevrolet says some of the key or additional features of the 2015 City Express include:

• Fold-down passenger seat that converts to a flat work space
• Center console designed for storage, including a standard file folder bin
• Tall, 40/60-split rear cargo doors that open to 90- and 180-degree angles
• Left- and right-side sliding doors
• Twenty integrated cargo-mounting points throughout the interior
• Six floor-mounted D-rings
• Six exterior roof rack mounting points
• Standard vinyl flooring
• Standard solid rear doors with tinted-glass windows available
• Standard driver information center
• Standard power windows
• MacPherson-strut front suspension
• Multi-leaf rear suspension
• 15-inch wheels
• Electric power steering
• Electronic stability control
• Front disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution

“As the newest member of the Chevrolet Express family of vans, the 2015 City Express offers a smaller, more efficient choice for businesses that don’t need the cargo volume or other capabilities of a full-size van,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet and Commercial. “It is an easy-to-maneuver van that makes the most of its compact dimensions with clever features, allowing business owners to maximize its space – and their resources – with a vehicle sized for their needs.”

All 3,200 Chevrolet dealerships across the United States will be able to service the City Express.

Pricing and fuel economy figures will be announced later. For reference, one can look at the figures for the Nissan NV200 which show an entry level MSRP of $20,240 and an EPA fuel economy rating of 24/25 mpg City/Highway with a combined 24 mpg.

Source: Chevrolet

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