Agrale, a Brazilian light truck, bus chassis and tractor maker, will launch its first van, called Furgovan, at the end of February to compete with the Fiat Ducato, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Iveco Daily and Peugeot Boxer, writes Rogerio Louro Alves.

Agrale also expects to export the Furgovan, starting in the second half of 2002 with Argentina, Chile and Colombia and, later, other Latin America markets.

The Furgovan is made in Agrale’s Caxias do Sul plant, Rio Grande do Sul state, with a Brazilian MWM 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine. Agrale was established in 1962 and is the biggest microbus chassis maker in Brazil.

In 2001, the company registered revenue of $R205 million, up 29.7 percent on the 2000 result.

Last year, Agrale sold 2,900 bus chassis and 491 light trucks. In 2000, the company sold 2,760 bus chassis and 343 light trucks.