Opel takes LCV lead for PSA
The comeback Opel has made since its incorporation into the PSA Group is remarkable. Seemingly overnight, the carmaker from Rüsselsheim was taken back to profitability. Opel’s new LCV fleet shares this success, as Fleet Europe discovered during a test drive.
Confident and happy faces at Opel. Understandably, as PSA regards Opel as a fully fledged equal to Peugeot and Citroën, having given the Germans the lead in the group’s electric powertrain development. Now, Opel is also taking the lead in developing PSA’s commercial vehicles. The future of PSA as Europe’s leading LCV manufacturer appears to be unthreatened.
Opel’s LCV lineup today mirrors PSA’s. The Combo is clearly related to the Peugeot Partner/Citroën Berlingo, as is the bigger Vivaro to the Peugeot Expert/Citroën Jumpy (Dispatch in the UK). The full-size Opel van, Movano, is still based on a Renault platform, even though it has received a thorough refresh. No word on when the Movano will switch over to the PSA platform, but switch it most definitely will.
Together, this new lineup saw 35% growth compared to the same period last year. Spokespersons to Opel couldn’t comment on whether those new Opel LCV buyers were new to the platform or whether they were previously Peugeot and Citroën customers, but the numbers are impressive regardless.
The importance of light commercial vehicles is also reflected in Opel’s revised sales strategy. Previously, customers needed to go to specialised LCV centres. Today, they can buy their vans at any Opel dealer.
21 driver assistance systems
At an LCV event Opel held at its test site near Rüsselsheim, we got to drive the new Opel vans extensively.
The Opel Combo is a new model from last year, built on a PSA platform. It offers 21 driver assistance systems, most of which are of course optional on the very price-sensitive LCV market, like Automatic Cruise Control, Forward Collision Alert with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Driver Drowsiness Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition and many more. Most of these systems are also available on the other LCVs.
The head-up display is a basic transparent plastic screen that slides out of the dashboard, not unlike some aftermarket options, but it is clear and it contains useful information like speed, speed limit and satnav guidance.
In Combolife trim, the Opel Combo is particularly well equipped.
All Opel LCVs are also available as a 4x4. The result is quite impressive and should definitely suffice to get drivers out of the most challenging construction sites, as we experienced on the muddy test track.
The Vivaro has a payload of up to 1,400kg (200kg more than the outgoing model) and it can tow up to 2,500kg - half a tonne higher than before. The new Vivaro was designed to stay below 1.90m in height in order to ensure easy access to underground parking garages.
Loading and unloading the Vivaro can be made easier with automatic sliding doors and an optional foot movement sensor.
More cabin storage
The revised Movano boasts no less than 22 storage compartments in the cabin. It is exclusively powered by BiTurbo diesel units that respect the strictest emissions standards and that produce higher power and more torque than before. Opel promises a moderate fuel consumption, which should have a positive effect on the budget.
Image on top: Opel Combo, Opel Vivaro, Opel Movano