PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat have launched new versions of their light commercial vehicles, the Fiat Ducato, Citroen Jumper and Peugeot Boxer.
All three models were developed and are being built at the Sevel Sud plant in Val di Sangro, Italy. Sevel Sud is a 50-50 joint venture between PSA and Fiat.
Sevel Nord in Lieu Saint-Amand, France, is a similar joint venture between PSA and Fiat. Sevel Nord will begin building the new Peugeot 807, Citroen Evasion/Synergie, Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Zeta full-size minivans this spring. The plant will also produce light commercial vehicle derivatives.
At Sevel Sud, the Ducato, Jumper and Boxer are produced on a single assembly line designed for flexibility.
The new models replace the original versions introduced in 1994. The new bodies are 20 percent stiffer than the old ones.
Sevel Sud invested E200 million in development and tooling for the new vehicle family.
Sevel Sud's volume allocation between PSA and Fiat is divided equally, but demand for the Ducato is traditionally higher. Last year's capacity was 200,000 units: 104,000 for Fiat, and 96,000 for PSA.
The three models compete in the heart of Europe's light commercial vehicle market, which typically has a volume of 1.75 million units, said Antonio Mannina, Fiat director of light commercial vehicle brand management.
Vans such as the Ducato with up to 3,500kg of gross vehicle weight make up the majority of the light commercial vehicle market, or about 55 percent. Smaller, car-based vehicles such as the Citroen Berlingo make up another 25 percent.
The remaining 20 percent is split almost equally between other car-based vans and light pickup trucks.
'This market is normally stable,' Mannina said. 'The economic situation is the only parameter that influences sales.'