Jump to content

New base vehicles and buying abroad.

Brian Kirby

Recommended Posts

Before importing, possibly before buying, motorhomes, you may wish to take into account the changes to the base vehicles that are about to be introduced by the manufacturers.  The new ranges come into production in Europe commencing spring 2006, i.e. now, although not all at the same time.

The current Sevel produced vans (Fiat, Peugeot and Citroen) are all to be replaced with radically re-designed products.  These will now incorporate ABS and a driver airbag as standard.  There will be an additional range on a new low chassis aimed, according to the French motorhoming press, specifically at motorhomes and originating from its own, dedicated, production line.  This new chassis, designated X250, is 145mm lower and marginally lighter than the standard version, and will have a widened rear track.  Other innovations are aimed at simplifying the process of grafting the motorhome onto the base chassis and electrical systems.  It seems inevitable that chassis prices will rise, although conversion costs should fall.  New engines of 2.2l, 2.3l and 3.0l are also on offer.  Wheelbases also change so floorplans of all current ‘van production will have to be modified in some measure.  Outputs range from 100 – 157hp and torque from 250 – 400 Nm.  All are common rail turbodiesel.

There will also be a completely new Ford Transit.  This will maintain the principal chassis dimensions of its predecessor, the main changes being to the cab and engines.  The gear lever now goes to the dashboard, driver airbag and ABS standard, passive immobiliser standard.  Choice between f.w.d. and r.w.d will remain.  Engines will be all 2.2l for f.w.d. with outputs ranging between 88 - 130hp in three steps and torques from 250 – 310Nm.  R.w.d engines will all be 2.4l, with outputs from 100 – 140 hp and torques between 310 and 375 Nm.  As above, all are common rail turbodiesel.

Mercedes is introducing a new version of its Sprinter.  Of motorhome interest, this will now be available on a chassis lowered by some 200mm, jointly designed by Mercedes and Al-Ko.  ABS and driver airbag will be standard here also.  There will be four 2.1l engines and one 3.0l V6 with outputs ranging between 88hp - 184hp and torques between 220 – 400Nm.

Iveco is to introduce a new Guigiaro designed Daily, also with dashboard mounted gear lever.  Three 2.3l engine options ranging from 96 – 136hp and two 3.0l engines at 146 and 176hp.  Again, all are common rail turbodiesel.

VW is retiring its LT vans in favour of its new Grafter.  As above, ABS and drivers airbag will be standard.  Engines will all be 2.5l 5 cylinder with outputs of 89, 109 136 and 164hp driving via a six speed gearbox.

Finally, Renault, while retaining the existing design, albeit mildly “face lifted” is introducing all new engines.  The existing 3.0l disappears to be replaced by a 2.5l producing 100, 120 or 150hp.

All this change will inevitably place considerable demands on the converters for their 2007 ranges - early prototypes of which are beginning to emerge.  Since cab profiles have inevitably altered, all the mouldings that graft the coachbuilt bodies to the cab must also be redesigned.  Lower chassis will require changes in the area of the cabin entrance and cab/cabin floor junctions and, in the case of the Sevel vans, 100mm taller cabs will present difficulties for Luton bodies.  Changed wheelbases will require some re-working of floorplans to accommodate re-sited rear wheel boxes, as will the wider rear track on the new lower Sevel chassis where this is adopted.  It seems many converters will content themselves with “tweaking” most of their existing models, probably leaving any more radical changes to the 2008 model year.  However, some innovation seems inevitable where already ageing designs won’t readily adapt to the new carriers.

Effect on motorhome prices of all of the above: unknown, but you can bet they won’t be getting cheaper!

Perhaps of greater concern for prospective personal importers, will be the dates when all these new model base vehicles are scheduled for their UK launches.  I have not attempted to check these, but anyone ordering a new ‘van from abroad over the next few months, for personal importation back into UK, should maybe do so.  Then, if the ‘van will be on the new chassis, also check their scheduled delivery date against the base vehicle’s scheduled UK launch date.  There seems some slight risk of early delivery ‘vans being imported from Europe on the new chassis before its UK launch, with such items as left dipping headlamps not being available to meet UK registration requirements.  The same will apply in the case of speedometer foils or replacement heads showing MPH in lieu of KPH.  It would be very annoying to have to leave your shiny new motorhome on your drive unregistered and with the insurance running, while UK launches and dealer’s spare parts availability catch up with your buying plans!

Regards to all


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Also of interest to potenial MB fans is the imminent introduction of an Alco chassis for MB. Could be the end of rock and roll for MB users as it will be lower and wider in the track and will also appeal cosmetically as many MB vans look cronically over bodied on a standard MB chassis. I picked up the info. in Camping Car magazine in May in France. Bill Ord
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...