VW Globally prepares to launch its all-new Caddy while continuing to develop its e-Crafter for zero-emissions operation.
Volkswagen continues to power along on a plateau, with sales for 2019 across the globe showing deliveries of 491,600 light commercial vehicles, just 1.6 per cent below the level of the previous year (499,700). While the company recorded modest growth in the European markets, the crisis-laden economic situations in the Middle East, South America and Australia led to drops in sales that could not be fully compensated for elsewhere.
In Western Europe VW supplied 338,600 vehicles to customers (prior year 337,000; up 0.5 per cent) with its home market in Germany being the brand’s largest single market with 126,600 vehicles, down 0.8 percent compared to the previous year of 127,600.
Largely unaffected by Brexit, Great Britain, with 48,200 units saw a gain of 2.4 percent in 2019 from 47,000 units in 2018, remaining VW’s the most significant export market. Other Western European markets included France with sales of 20,300 vehicles (down 3.8 per cent), Spain with sales of 18,000 vehicles (up 8.4 per cent) and Italy reaching 13,500 vehicles (up 0.4 per cent). In Eastern Europe the company recorded consistently positive numbers in 2019, with a total of 47,600 vehicles being supplied to customers (up 8.8 per cent).
In Mexico sales of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles models increased by 18 per cent to 11,300. In South America sales numbers fell by 14.5 per cent to 38,000 vehicles. Brazil, where the company achieved 18,900 shipped units (up 6.6 per cent), was the region’s biggest individual market in 2019. In Argentina the number of VW LCVs shipped fell due to the recession by 30.4 per cent to 11,200 units.
In Africa the company supplied 20,700 vehicles through 2019 (up 7.4 per cent), while in the Asia-Pacific region that includes Australia it sold 23,200 vehicles (down 13.4 per cent). Interestingly, Volkswagen attributed this major drop in sales to what it described as the economic downturn and natural disasters occurring in Australia. While Australia’s Federal Government would no doubt dispute that description, Volkswagen’s poor performance was perhaps more affected by Dieselgate, than a general downturn in the overall market economy.
The obvious unrest in the Middle East region and a fall in currency values, especially in Turkey, resulted in a massive drop in sales of 35.8 percent to 12,200 vehicles. Turkey in particular saw sales drop 42.2 percent to 9500 vehicles from the previous year’s figures of 16,450.
In overall product terms, Volkswagen saw a reduction in global sales of three of its four main vehicle lines, with T series down 4.8 percent to 192,455 vehicles; Caddy down 1.8 percent to 155,136 vehicles; and Amarok dropping 10.4 percent to 72,513 vehicles. Only the more recently-released Crafter range showed a gain, with a rise of 21.4 percent in sales to reach a global volume of 70,974 vehicles.
There is some hope ahead for Volkswagen with the pending release of an all-new Caddy towards the end of the first quarter, details of which were leaked recently as a precursor to its global release.
The fifth-generation Caddy will be a completely new car, with an industry spokesperson stating “no screw has been left untouched”.
Available in two wheelbases, the new Caddy will endeavour to be all things to all buyers, offering a mixture of appeal that includes commercial-urban delivery vans and privately used family MPVs.
The Cargo version of the Caddy shows a roof line sloping down slightly towards the back. The short wheelbase is becoming longer and the wheels larger. The LED light graphics too are becoming more distinctive, with the front lights visually extending the grille and leading directly on to the vehicle side lines, enhanced by slim lights at the back.
The passenger variants are now broader and longer than the previous model, offering for the first time a panoramic glass roof, claimed to be the largest in the segment. At the same time more driver assistance systems than ever before find their way here into the urban delivery vehicle / family MPV class. Volkswagen said the new Caddy will be “always connected”, meaning it becomes its own internet device with real-time information on wheels. No further details have yet been released.
In the quest for zero pollution, Volkswagen back in late August of 2018 released its e-Crafter as a high roof, all-electric panel van capable of payloads up to 1.72 tonne.
The electric motor – an EEM85 synchronous motor – is integrated at the front of the e-Crafter and produces 100 kW of peak power and 290 Nm of torque.
Power goes to the front wheels via a single-speed automatic gearbox (EQ 290) designed for commercial vehicles. Together, the engine, gearbox and differential form a compact module that’s manufactured at the Volkswagen Group’s components plant in Kassel.
At a CCS charging station operating at 40 kW (direct current), the battery (with energy capacity of 35.8 kWh) can be charged to 80 per cent of its energy capacity in just 45 minutes. CCS is an acronym for the internationally standardised Combined Charging System – a system which charges with direct current and is integrated as standard in the e-Crafter. If an AC wall socket supplying 7.2 kW (alternating current) is used, the battery can be charged to 100 per cent within 5 hours 20 minutes.
The e-Crafter was launched for evaluation into 25 specific fleets operating in Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Sweden, with standard features that include the ParkPilot. This is a parking assistant that includes side protection monitored by 16 ultrasonic sensors around the vehicle to reduce the risk of damage when manoeuvring in tight spaces, a multifunction camera (front) and a reversing camera.
The Crafter is the first commercial vehicle of this class to feature an automatic post-collision braking system — which can help to avoid secondary collisions — as standard. Also standard is the cross-wind assist system, LED headlights (for dipped beam, main beam and daytime running lights), an automatic air conditioning system (Climatronic), seat heating, heat pump and heated windscreen, comfort seats and the “Discover Media” navigation system including “App Connect” for integrating smartphone apps, voice control and a mobile phone interface. The e-Crafter is not expected to be available for sale to the general public in mid-2021.