General Motors and Nissan announced today that they have signed an agreement for Nissan to produce a small cargo van that GM will sell in the United States and Canada. It will be called the City Express and be sold by Chevrolet dealers.
The compact van will be based on the Nissan NV200, and will compete with Ford’s current Transit Connect, an upcoming Fiat-based small van from Chrysler’s Ram brand, and with the Nissan-branded NV200 itself.
“Our fleet customers have asked us for an entry in the commercial small van segment, so this addition to the Chevrolet portfolio will strengthen our position with fleets and our commercial customers,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM Fleet and Commercial sales.
The City Express will be available for sale in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model, said Pam Flores, a GM spokesperson. It will be offered in LS and LT trim, and only as a cargo van, though extra rear and side windows will be optional.
“There’s interest from customers in right-sizing their vehicles, and in improved fuel economy,” she added. But there’ll be no GMC version.
“We don’t necessarily give a brother or sister vehicle to both brands,” she said. “We try to look at what the brand image is. And this is kind of a low-volume vehicle anyway, so doesn’t justify two versions at this point.”
Nissan will build the City Express in its plant at in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
“Working with partners to expand markets for our innovative products enhances Nissan’s growth and manufacturing efficiency by leveraging our capacity to meet growing demand in this space,” said Joe Castelli, Nissan vice president, commercial vehicles and fleet.
Nissan currently sells the NV200 in numerous markets globally, and it is new to the U.S. and Canada. It has a 2-liter gasoline engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Nissan calls it “spacious yet compact,” and notes that it is a previous winner of the International Van of the Year Award.
Cost of ownership for the vehicle is claimed to be among the lowest in the class due to the high efficiency of the engines and drivetrains and a safety structure that helps to minimize crash damage.
The price of the Chevrolet City Express will be announced later.