IVECO once again improves its products for the light commercial segment
There’s a huge difference between selling commercial vehicles and passenger cars. A car purchase may just be a question of colour and style, but, for a van or ute buyer, whatever they purchase has to fulfill a function. It has to earn its living, and making the wrong choice can substantially affect its ability.
This is why the often-found combination of vans, utes and cars under the same roof in a vehicle sales outlet is flawed from the start. Car sales personnel are all about impact and image, van sales people need to discuss the intended task, work out the payload requirements, establish what access is needed into the cargo area and, basically, have to gather an understanding about the customer’s business.
A recent visit to the IVECO dealership at Sydney’s Arndell Park clearly illustrated the differences encountered when a buyer goes hunting for a new vehicle. In addition to a row of immaculate brand new vans and chassis-cab variants waiting for new owners, the dealership has models available for demonstration to be driven by the customer.
Dealer principal, Steve Shearer, encourages his sales staff to take an in-depth interest into the business requirements of each customer.
“We need to understand their business so we can find the right vehicle to accomplish their own individual task,” said Steve.
“We add extra equipment to our demonstration vehicles to show how a Daily business operation can be made easier or safer. We determine how to improve efficiency by having the right equipment, and how to decide which engine and driveline combination is the ideal choice,” he added.
The Daily product range was first launched back in 1978, and, like the Ford Transit, it’s been a continuing success story for light-commercial buyers across Europe. Obviously, there has been a continuing development programme through that, almost, 35 years of history, and the Daily of 2012 is now a very sophisticated vehicle that boasts the latest engine technology to match innovative style and design.
The 2012 Daily covers the weight range from 3,800 kg through to 7,000 kg, enabling the lighter GVM models to be driven by those with a passenger car licence, or the top-end vehicles by drivers with a light truck licence. There’s a choice of transmission between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automated manual, and these gearboxes slot behind a range of engine options to provide cargo volumes up to a massive 17.2 cubic metres.
The Daily comes in three distinctly different configurations as a van, a single cab-chassis or as a dual cab-chassis.
As a van, there are three wheelbase options, which in turn determine the overall length, cargo volume and payload. Choose the 3,000 mm wheelbase van and you go home with 8.3 cubic metres of cargo area and the opportunity to carry a payload of 1265-1460 kg. Step up to the 3,300 mm wheelbase van and the cargo volume increases to 12 cubic metres and payload options run from 1,170 kg through to 2,770 kg.
If you’ve got higher volume loads, or they come at a heavier weight, there’s the 3,950 mm wheelbase large van that offers cargo volumes of 15.6 and 17.2 cubic metres and payloads that run from 1,045 kg through to 4,140 kg.
When looking at cab-chassis alternative, it’s up to the buyer to decide on which type of body suits their business, as this is usually constructed by a local Australian bodybuilder at the time of vehicle purchase. The available payload will depend on the weight of the actual body, so, when considering what to buy, it’s important to know that the sales personnel you are dealing with understand the commercial vehicle business.
Coming back to our earlier comment about the increased professionalism of commercial vehicle sales teams, this is where IVECO offers more, by way of advice and experience, than you’ll find dealing with a sales team that usually sells sedans and hatches. IVECO people only sell vans, cab-chassis models, trucks and prime movers, so they have the knowledge that can make your business more profitable.
In the Daily cab-chassis range the choice is between that of a single cab-chassis and a dual cab. These dual cabs are a little different from what you’d expect buying a standard Japanese-style ute, as, for starters, they can seat up to six passengers in addition to the driver. The bench seat across the rear of the cabin seats up to four people, and you can have a dual front passenger seat and still have plenty of space for gear. The rear bench seat lifts up for stowing clothing, tools etc., and there’s plenty of additional storage around the front of the cabin, within easy reach of the driver.
Access into the cab involves stepping up and in, rather than down and in, as the floor height is higher than a standard Japanese-style ute. All Daily models, including the vans, have a strong, ladder-frame style of chassis. This feature is indicative of the IVECO heritage of being a truck making company, but what it means for the buyer is added strength.
This added strength really comes into prominence in the 4×4 all-wheel-drive version of the Daily Crew Cab. This 4×4 has a specification that says IVECO really means business. With a proper two-speed, double reduction transfer box offering a total of 24 gear combinations, it can be specified with differential locks in the front axle, rear axle and centre differential. Long leaf parabolic springs, front and rear, and a 17.5 sized tyre and rim combination, slots this little delight right into local councils, those working in the snow or mud, mining and anywhere basically that can offer tough travel.
Most vans on our market are built on what is called a monocoque principle where the suspension components are bolted to the body. Having a chassis underpinning the body, as with IVECO’s Daily, plus having rear-wheel-drive in all versions, means it’s designed from the start as a load carrier. There’s even the option of load-friendly air suspension on the rear for companies carrying sensitive freight such as computers or flowers and plants.
For the 2012 model year versions of the Daily van there have been several upgrades, including a reduction in size of the gear shift housing, which in turn improves across cab access for when the driver wants to slide across the cabin and exit directly onto the pavement. Changes to the air intake system have reduced vibration and induction noise level, and a new design of air filter further improves noise reduction as well as enabling filter changes to now be extended to 80,000 km/3-year intervals.
Some subtle changes to the dashboard storage system has solved the problem of where to place large and small drink bottles, and the centre seat back now includes a slide-out table that can take a laptop etc. There’s also a hidden compartment within the slide-out table to store the laptop when out of the vehicle. Writing up delivery notes is also made easier by an A4-sized clipboard that’s designed to clip across the steering wheel, making a desk top.
All vans come with a bulkhead to separate the load area from the driver’s cabin. This is a good safety feature as it prevents the risk of parcels being thrown forwards into occupants in the event of an accident, plus it also adds to cargo security.
Whatever Daily version you choose, the driver gets an ISRI, weight adjustable, suspension seat. That’s the best seat in the business, and your driver will love you for it.
Now we come to engine options, and largely what you can have depends on which model you select. All engines are diesel four-cylinder units with direct injection, turbocharging and intercooling. IVECO, through its engine supply division called Fiat PowerTrain, has access to the latest common-rail, high pressure injection systems, and they use an exhaust gas recycling system to conform to the latest exhaust emissions legislation.
The 2.3-litre HPI engine in the 35S15 produces 107 kW at 3,000-3,500 rpm and peak torque of 350 Nm rated at 1,500-2,500 rpm. The FIC 3.0-litre in the 45C17, 50C17 and 70C17 has one turbocharger, the EEV version of the same engine has dual-stage twin turbocharging, again with intercooling to produce 125 kW at 3,000-3,500 rpm and peak torque of 400 Nm rated at 1,250-3,000 rpm.
So, by now you might be asking just what else makes the Daily range something special and a cut above the competition.
When Delivery magazine collected the two Daily models for testing, IVECO Daily sales specialist, Robert Windschuttle, of the Arndell Park dealership, took great delight in pointing out the safety features. As well as including driver and passenger and window SRS airbags, there’s a full electronic stability programme, for roll stability, and reverse parking sensors. The van we drove also sported a reversing camera, and the screen positioning in the centre of the dash was excellent.
Being a van specialist and truck specialist centre, the dealership had also added sensible inclusions such as interior wooden panelling throughout the van walls and a wooden floor, both of which protect your investment and your cargo from damage.
To get the full picture on the Daily you have to drive it, and, with a simulated load of around 500 kg in both the van and dual-cab version we drove, it gave an excellent indication of the stress-free performance of each engine. Once you show it to your drivers, you will not hear one word of complaint.
The cab is spacious, the relationship between instrumentation, vision and driver seating position is excellent, and the ride and handling have none of the thump and harsh suspension compliance that you’ll find on some imported vehicles.
So, with Euro V emissions levels, a great set of new engines, the option of all-wheel-drive and additional inclusions such as daytime running lamps, cornering fog lights and the most powerful four-cylinder diesel in this weight category, we see the IVECO Daily as a worthy winner of the 2012 Delivery Magazine Van of the Year.