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Vauxhall and Renault adopt new LCV policy

Renault is establishing 57 LCV 'business centres' in the UK as part of a 530-strong business centre network across Europe. These will be dedicated to fleet customers - vans as well as cars - and will be open weekends, evenings and nights for servicing.

Mark Lovett, LCV brand manager for Renault UK, said work started on the centres two years ago.

“A van operator's mobility has to be our No1 consideration, from buying to repair and servicing,” he said.

The centres offer courtesy vans through a deal with rental company Enterprise at half the price of the average daily rental.

The previous generation Trafic, launched in 1980, should have been replaced 10 years ago, said Mr Lovett.

“It's at least five years since we have done any volume in the compact van sector,” he said, explaining the effort put behind the launch of new Trafic.

The Vivano gives Vauxhall an opportunity to re-enter a market it all but abandoned 20 years ago.

Together with European sister company Opel, Vauxhall plans 850 dedicated dealers across Europe.

There are currently about 200 in the UK but Ian Coomber, Vauxhall's sales and marketing director, anticipates that number falling “as we sort out those dealers who want to be LCV specialists”.

Dealers would cover the full range of car-derived vans like Corsa and Astra as well as Vivano and the larger Movano. The Vauxhall/Renault joint venture project, dubbed X83, will be launching more derivatives later this year.

Initially the Vauxhall Vivano and Renault Trafic will come with a choice of two common rail units - 1.9 DI producing 80PS and a 1.9DTI rated at 100PS. Vauxhall is pricing the two short wheelbase versions, on sale from July, at £12,925 and £13,525.

A long wheelbase version will be added towards the end of this year and a high-roof model from 2003, by which time the vehicle will also be built by Nissan at its Barcelona plant.

By mid-2002, a 133PS 2.5-litre turbodiesel will be added. There will also be the option of a 120PS 2-litre petrol engine.

A nine-seater minibus variant is scheduled to join the line-up next year. By then Vauxhall expects to be selling 4,250 Vivanos a year and Renault 4,500 Trafics.

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