The U.S. commercial van marketplace isn't the sleepy backwater it used to be. These days it's a lively place, a hotbed of innovation teeming with fresh products and new competitors.
Daimler and Nissan have challenged the General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler threesome that dominated U.S. commercial van sales for decades. There are new models and more products.
The U.S. market now looks a lot more like Europe, with a range of commercial cargo and passenger vans derived from dedicated platforms or passenger vehicles and a variety of powertrains. That's not surprising. Ford, GM and what is now FCA US are using commercial vans imported from Europe or inspired by their European models that stress fuel economy and often come in smaller sizes.
The new models complement the conventional U.S. models -- large, rear-wheel-drive vans and trucks -- that changed little in approach or size for decades. The result is a product range far wider than before and a commercial vehicle market with broader and more vigorous competition.
It's a more vital sector. U.S. business owners have more choices and a chance to buy vehicles ideally suited for their needs and budgets. Manufacturers are more involved and committed. And more U.S. dealers have opportunity on the commercial side in their communities.