SAN DIEGO -- Nissan dealers are selling their new compact NV200 commercial van as fast as the company can deliver them, and planners are pressing Nissan's Mexican factory to step up production.
"The factory is running at about 400 a month, and those are selling fast," Peter Bedrosian, the van's senior product planner, says of the launch. "We're boosting that up to 600 a month soon. But it will need to keep going up to 1,000 a month, and then 2,000."
The Sentra-sized NV200, produced in Cuernavaca, Mexico, went on sale in late March. It is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a continuously variable transmission and features sliding doors on both sides of the body. Its EPA fuel economy rating is 24 mpg city/25 highway/24 combined. Nissan dealers sold 341 of the vans in May, with a base price of $20,835, including shipping.
The NV200 is the sole challenger to the Ford Transit Connect's virtual monopoly on the U.S. compact van segment. In the fall of 2014, Nissan will begin sharing the NV200 with Chevrolet dealers. And Ram dealers are to receive a version of Fiat's Turkish-built compact Doblo cargo van next year.
Bedrosian acknowledges that some Nissan dealers were unhappy to hear that Chevrolet will get a version of the Nissan van.
"They don't want to share it," he says. "They like it and they want more of them. But there will be plenty of them to go around for everybody by then." c