Blog: Sevelnord trip
Dave Leggett | 6 November 2006
I will be on a train to northern France (Lille, to be precise) later this afternoon as part of a trip to see the PSA/Fiat joint venture plant at Valenciennes that makes freight vans and minivans (the facility is known as 'Sevelnord' - there's also a 'Sevelsud' plant in Italy where bigger vans are made). As well as a plant visit, there's a new compact van being shown and both Folz and Marchionne will be present at a press conference tomorrow (one of Folz's last before he retires I guess).
The two firms' collaboration on vans seems to work well. No fuss and they've signed an agreement to keep going until 2017. It's an interesting example of two manufacturers collaborating to keep costs down; Renault and GM have a similar van cooperation in Europe too (Trafic/Movano).
The curious thing about the Sevelnord operation is that it makes freight vans and minivans (MPVs) together. I have never been too sure how much the vans and the MPVs actually share, so hopefully there'll be a little light shed on that. I wonder to what extent the engineering compromises inherent in joint development might have made the vans more car-like than they would have been without joint development, and, er, vice versa for the MPVs? There again, the typical freight van driver these days is a demanding fellow, I'm told. All mod-cons in the cab nowadays.
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