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General Motors’ Vauxhall (UK) and Opel (Germany) subsidiaries have launched their
new Vivaro van, the latest joint venture commercial vehicle project with Renault.
The Vivaro is a completely new model, the third product of the cooperation
with Renault that began in 1996. The Vivaro replaces an earlier model and the
French company will sell its new Trafic version in competition with the GM models.
The All Vauxhall, Opel and Renault versions are built at GM’s IBC commercial
vehicles plant at Luton, north of London.
Vauxhall and Opel are offering the Vivaro initially with two body versions,
two wheelbases and three engines in various combinations.
There are two (Renault) 1.9-litre diesel engines with common rail fuel injection,
one developing 80PS, the other 100PS, as well as a 120PS 2.0 litre 16 valve
The 80PS diesel version has a five-speed gearbox, all other models have a six-speeder.
In mid-2002 a 133PS 2.5 litre common rail turbodiesel, will be introduced and
a high-roof panel van version is scheduled for 2003.
Optional car-like equipment includes radio-integrated GPS navigation, cellphone
and CD changer.
Safety equipment includes a 60-litre driver’s airbag, lap-and-shoulder seat
belts with belt tensioners and head restraints for all seats. A passenger airbag
and side airbags are optional.
Depending on model, the Vivaro has a maximum payload of around 1200 kg and
up to six cubic metres of cargo volume.
GM says that just over 2.5 million commercial vehicles were sold in Europe
last year, up by almost five per cent on the previous year and of these one
fifth (500,000) were in the van segment up to a gross vehicle weight of 2.8
metric tons, the class in which the Vivaro/Trafic competes.
New models, the upswing in “e-commerce” and the increasing volume of delivery
services are encouraging signs for the van market, in Vauxhall’s view.
The UK company plans to sell about 1,700 Vivaros. In 2002, the first full year
of sales, the target is 4,250.
A nine-seat minibus version will be introduced during 2002.
This model will have bench seats for three in the second and third rows. The
rearmost bench seat can be folded down to provide a larger load area, or folded
forward or removed completely.
There are also separate front and rear interior lights, extra ventilation outlets
at the rear and sliding windows next to the second row of seats. With all seats
in place, the minibus still has a load capacity of 1216 litres up to roof level.
The joint General Motors-Renault venture to produce Vivaro has meant an investment
of £430 million ($US616 million) – in equal shares – in the development
and production of the new van. Vauxhall and Renault took just 35 months to develop
the new van.
Renault developed the powertrain and packaging, and Vauxhall prepared the vehicle
for production. In other design areas – including styling – the two companies
joined forces and both versions ended up looking quite similar.
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