Nissan is cutting its LCV ties with Renault and going it alone in a search for fleet success.
The Japanese manufacturer plans to launch six new vans in the coming five years, all of which will be based on Nissan platforms.
At present, three of its offerings – Kubistar, Primastar and Interstar – are rebadged Renaults.
First off the blocks is the NV200, which goes on sale in the UK in November and will go head-to-head with the likes of the Citroën Berlingo, Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect. Next year we’ll be seeing a new 3.5-tonner.
Corporate sales director Tony Lewis said the NV200 is a truly sector-breaking van that focuses on cargo space, value and comfort.
He said: “From the B pillar forwards it’s a car and after that it’s a van.”
This year, Nissan aims to sell just 491 NV200s, rising to 2,000 in 2010 and 3,000 in 2011. One model will be available, with E and SE grades.
The NV200’s real strength comes in its size.
Although it looks like a small van, it offers a load volume of 4.2cu m – enough to carry two Europallets – and has a tight turning circle for urban manoeuvring.
Load length is 2,040mm while height is 1,358mm, which should make this van of interest to those converters who make wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Under the bonnet is Renault’s 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, offering 85bhp while returning 54.3mpg and emitting 137g/km of CO2.
Prices will be revealed nearer to launch date.
Inside, the driver’s seat is perched up high, which makes the NV200 feel bigger than it really is.
In the rear, a variety of bulkheads are available, including a meshed one which swivels round in the middle so that long loads can be carried while the driver is still protected.
The NV200 can hold its head up against any of the opposition on the market – it’s now down to Nissan to persuade Britain’s big fleet buyers to abandon their Citroëns, Fords and Vauxhalls.