The Nissan NV200, built in Cuernavaca, Mexico, went on sale at Nissan dealerships only last month.
Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM's fleet and commercial sales, said the van will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2014 and be sold across Chevrolet's dealership network.
The compact van segment is slowly attracting automaker interest. Until now, Ford Motor Co. has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the category with its Ford Transit Connect van. The smaller vehicles are being pitched as small-engine, fuel-efficient alternatives to the aging, full-sized commercial vans, a segment where the Detroit 3 have held sway for decades.
Piece of the action
GM's fleet customers "told us they had a need for this product, something with a lot of cargo space that gets great fuel economy," Peper said.
Demand for a smaller, more fuel efficient cargo vehicle has surged in recent years amid higher gasoline prices, Peper said in an interview. He expects to attract customers such as bakery or flower delivery companies, which might now use SUVs or crossovers.
Peper said the City Express will fill the role of the HHR, which was a fleet favorite before the retro-styled wagon was discontinued in 2011.
GM said the City Express' front and rear ends have been restyled to reflect Chevy's design cues.
The van will be sold in the base LS trim, along with an LT model that will get cruise control, remote keyless entry and other features. Both will get a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission.
Nissan itself has broader hopes for the van, which is approximately the size of a Nissan Sentra. Nissan also intends to sell an electric version of the van and is on tap to produce a taxi version in an exclusive deal with New York City.
This fall, Chrysler Group is expected to roll out the 2014 Ram ProMaster, based on the Fiat Ducato van, which has been on sale in Europe for more than 30 years.