Nissan displayed the NV200 concept cargo van at the IAA Hannover Show, before beginning production for Europe next year. The company has exploited its alliance with Renault for three of its light CV products in recent years. The two larger models, the Primastar and Interstar, are joint-venture products with General Motors, produced at GM's Luton plant in the U.K. and Renault's Batilly plant in France, respectively.
The NV200 will replace Nissan's smallest light CV, the Kubistar, based on the recently replaced Renault Kangoo cargo van. It will be one of 13 new light CV products launched by Nissan by 2013, signaling a more independent brand identity for the company.
Andy Palmer, Corporate Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., LCV Business Unit, spoke to AEI about the model. In outline, it will offer a gross vehicle weight of 2000 kg (4400 lb) and a load space volume greater than 4.0 m3. The load floor length will accommodate two 1000-mm (39-in) wide Europallets. Describing the model, Palmer said, "It's slightly bigger, and by virtue of being bigger, slightly heavier than the Kubistar but built on the Alliance B-platform, which is our small platform." The latest Kangoo is built on the larger C-platform. "We're not replacing a CDV (car-derived van) with a CDV. We're replacing it with a minivan," he said.
Initially, the NV200 will be produced in one size only. "Size is interesting because one of the things we've had to do is look for global scale," said Palmer. "We're replacing the Vanette in Japan with this vehicle, and it needs to be 1.7 m wide, and then you have the contradiction in Europe that you need to have a Europallet (1.0 m wide) between the wheel arches. So that's been a challenge for the engineers to get those two conflicting requirements to meet. Likewise, we needed 2.0 m of load length–two Europallets. Height needs to be above 1.85 m for it to qualify as an LCV in Spain. I started this program in 2004, so we've been around the world collecting all those needs, making sure that we somehow cook it into a product which is right for everywhere and it will be a global product.
"But its execution, market by market, is different," continued Palmer. "The needs, for example, of a GOM (global overseas market) version–for markets such as China and Russia–you have much higher inputs, you have overloading, you have much rougher roads, so the body shell is different from the one that will come to Europe, for example.
"In Japan, it's almost entirely gasoline-fueled. In Europe, it's diesel-fueled so there are big differences region to region, market to market, but essentially they look the same.” In terms of body styles, Palmer confirmed that there will also be passenger-carrying versions, an option the company did not have with the Kubistar.
Production of the NV200 will begin in 2009, initially in Japan, but European production will shift to Morocco in North Africa when Nissan has completed its new production facility there.
Power is likely to come from the Renault/Nissan alliance 2.0-L common-rail diesel and Renault-derived 1.5-L common-rail diesel for European versions.
In addition to the NV200 at Hannover, Nissan showed the Cabstar light truck. The model will now be available with an automated manual transmission. Three-liter versions will be available with a particulate filter, too, designed to meet the Euro 5 emissions limits. Both of these options will be available from spring 2009.
Nissan first displayed a Cabstar diesel/electric hybrid at Hannover two years ago and displayed a revised model at the recent show. The company plans to bring a production Cabstar hybrid to the European market by 2012.