Nissan to exit commercial van market

Nissan to exit commercial van market

NV commercial series never dented Ford’s, GM’s dominance of market.

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Nashville, Tennessee – Nissan will stop producing commercial vans at its Canton, Mississippi, plant starting next summer. And, after it sells off the remaining stock of vehicles produced between now and then, it will exit that market.

Nissan launched its NV line in 2011 as a 2012 model, in part, to better utilize assets at the Mississippi facility. A flex plant that builds the Nissan Altima sedan, Murano crossover, and Titan pickup, Canton had also been home to the Quest minivan. The automaker never hit early sales expectations for the Titan lineup, so the NV vans offered an inexpensive way to use untapped capacity.

A lightly modified version of the Titan pickup platform, the NV boasted the high roofs and open spaces that were being popularized at the time by Daimler’s Sprinter lineup. Since then, Ford has replaced the E-Series vans with higher-roofed Transit models; Ram has converted to the high-roof design with its Promaster vans; and Daimler has continued to expand Sprinter availability.

Ford controls about 50% of the U.S. commercial van market, and General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) split much of the rest. With Sprinter and Navistar also in that business, Nissan wasn't left with much potential market share.

Though it will still have a pickup offering for construction sites and hauling, the end of the NV line will keep Nissan from competing for vocational customers such as plumbers, locksmiths, electricians, and others who need to carry lots of specialized equipment inside lockable, closed vehicles.

The automaker says it’s focusing its future commercial vehicle offerings on other types of businesses.

“We are concentrating on our core business and products," said Michael Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. Marketing & Sales. “With Nissan Business Advantage, we can meet the unique needs of any business owner by providing a full array of vehicles for their companies to get the job done."

Nissan’s upcoming business program will focus on offering pickups, crossovers, and sedans to fleet customers, and it will include specialized financing and incentives to support that business.

“From three Nissan Frontier pickups for a pest-control business to several Nissan Rogues for pharmaceutical representatives to make doctor calls, Nissan provides customized vehicle solutions for nearly anyone," Colleran said.