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Posts Tagged ‘Fiat Fiorino Qubo’

Sleeper of the Year – Ford Transit Connect?

With some bold moves, TC could be bigger than Ford envisions.

by on Jun.08, 2010

Automotive press have largely ignored, or been ignorant of, this relatively little-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside vehicle’s potential.

Since last winter, when the imported Ford Transit Connect small delivery van was proclaimed as the 2010 North American Truck of the Year, little has been heard about it as a mainstream product.

Yes, Ford announced Natural Gas and Electric versions of the TC, which got attention as part of the “Green movement.” Announcements of a TC taxicab version have, unfortunately, generated ho-hum, who cares media responses.

The American world and its automotive press have largely ignored, or been ignorant of, this relatively little-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside vehicle’s potential to sweep the country as tomorrow’s commercial vehicle. In plain language, the TC is a city delivery van, a replacement for yesteryear’s panel delivery trucks and, eventually, today’s big box vans like the Ford Econoline and Chevy Express.

Ford and its dealers will reap a bonanza with the TC. None of the competition, domestic or import, appears to have anything like it up their sleeves for the near future, although Chrysler through its Fiat product pipeline could present a formidable challenge with the Fiat Fiorino Qubo. (See First Look: Renault Kangoo TomTom) Whether Fiat can out market Ford given its U.S. history is debatable, and for once Jeep, Dodge and/or Chrysler badges could help.

Furthermore, Ford marketing folks don’t think the TC will cut into sales anytime soon of the Ford Econoline E-150 vans, long the king of such vehicles on North American roads. E-series U.S. van sales so far this year (through May) totaled 32,376 plus another 13,140 E-series Club Wagons, compared to a combined total of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana sales of 27,114.  Many E-series, mostly the higher capacity E-250 and E-350 versions, power airport shuttle buses and motor homes. Ford’s E-series have long been a big money-maker, though mostly ignored by the motor media.

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First Look: Renault Kangoo TomTom

A car and truck like this could save Chrysler or smart.

by on Jan.15, 2010

These mini-minivans have huge sales potential as the next "small" thing in my view. And makers are once again missing an opportunity.

Renault has just introduced a new TomTom Edition in Europe of its wildly popular Kangoo. It is the fifth special edition of the 2010 Kangoo range, which includes existing Access, Authentique, Expression and Privilège versions.

In France, Kangoo is the best-selling vehicle in its class in both the private car and light commercial segments.

Like the original Chrysler minivan, or the original four-door Jeep Cherokee, (both of which went unanswered for years as Chrysler printed money from their sales) these mini-minivans have huge sales potential as the next small thing in my view. And makers are once again missing an opportunity.

Here, there is an opportunity with far great sales potential for Chrysler than the cute — but hopelessly small for Americans – Fiat 500 model.

Here's a minivan with far greater sales potential for Chrysler than a cute -- but hopelessly small for Americans – Fiat 500.

The Citroen Berlingo – shut out of the U.S. market — and the Fiat Fiorino, which is derived from it, are other variants of the type.

Here, there is an opportunity with far greater sales potential for Chrysler than the cute — but hopelessly small for Americans – Fiat 500 model that is coming next year.

How about a Fiorino derived camper version from the Jeep brand, as well as Chrysler luxury models and Dodge truck derivatives?

If Chrysler is to be a comeback company, it needs to gamble on such new things in the U.S. market. New decals,  which debuted on Jeep Wrangler models at the NAIAS, will only go so far.

A Kangoo could also easily be successful here as a Smart or Mercedes-Benz model – one personal, the other commercial. During 2008, Smart sold 24,622 copies of its pint-sized fortwo, a figure that plunged 38% in 2009. (more…)