There is a lot of buzz in the world of commercial and fleet trucks. Ford has introduced a gas V-10 option for its F-650, and the Transit is coming soon. Chrysler has introduced a new cargo van, plus it looks like the company is bringing some full-size vans to North America, and Nissan is introducing a smaller van. Here's the latest on the fleet and commercial industry and what you can expect to see at your local dealer in the near future.
Transit to get EcoBoost
Ford hasn't said too much about the upcoming Transit, but the company did recently announce that one of the engines it will receive is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine from the F-150. The company hasn't announced power numbers or the transmission that will back it. The diagram we saw also shows that the van will be rear drive. We don't know if all-wheel drive will be an option. Initially, the Transit will be sold at the same time as the E-Series, but will eventually replace it. Ford is going to build the U.S.-spec Transit in its Kansas City facility, and is spending $1.1 billion to upgrade the plant. Ford anticipates the new vans will be 300 pounds lighter -- and will offer 25-percent-better fuel economy -- than the current E-Series.
According to Ford, as of 2012, half of the company's vehicles (including commercial trucks) can run on alternative fuels. Options for Ford commercial trucks include flex fuel (E85), biodiesel, CNG, LPG, hybrid power, and an electric powertrain.
As of 2012, the small Transit Connect van comes with a choice of a gas engine, compressed natural gas, or an electric drive system with up to 80 miles of range.
MKT Town Car
Now that the Town Car is gone, how is Ford Motor Company going to replace the void left in the fleet and livery business? With the MKT. There will be an MKT-based Town Car. That also means MKT-based limos and hearses.
Fiat Doblo on Its Way
From the rumors we've heard, it sounds like Ram is going to bring Fiat's front-drive Doblo van to the U.S. This van is smaller than a full-sizer, and would compete with the Ford Transit Connect and the upcoming Nissan NV200. We expect it to go on sale as a 2013 model, perhaps at the end of 2012, and this van may make the Cargo Van obsolete.
Ram hasn't had a full-size van in its lineup since the Sprinter went back to being sold as a Mercedes-Benz. Ram Truck is planning on doing something about that, though. According to Automotive News, Chrysler is going to expand its assembly plant in Saltillo, Mexico -- the facility where some Ram pickups are built -- to also build a version of the Fiat Ducato. This van will also bear the Ram name, and is expected to arrive in 2013.
A New Van Is Slated
Nissan is adding the 2013 NV200 to its commercial truck lineup. Like the Ram version of the Doblo, this is expected to compete with the Transit Connect. The NV rides on a 115.2-inch wheelbase, will be powered by a 2.0-liter four with a CVT, and is expected to provide 123 cubic feet of cargo volume, with a 1500-pound payload capacity. It'll be offered in S and SV models.