By Steve & Tamami Laser
Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroën are preparing to debut the second generation of their minivan project at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The trio, dubbed Toyota Proace, Peugeot Traveller and Citroën Spacetourer, are set to go on sale in Europe during the first half of 2016.
In a joint announcement, the automakers said the new vans will be offered in MPV versions for consumers and in shuttle versions for business users. Both companies confirm the continuation of their cooperation agreement originally signed in 2012.
Since vans are big business in Europe, Toyota decided this arrangement was easier than developing its own van from scratch or trying to modify its Japanese market cab-forward Hiace to meet Euro NCAP impact tests. And since the Euro market prefers diesels, the American-built Toyota Sienna wasn’t quite right for the commercial market either. Current Euro Proace models offer 1.6 and 2.0L D-4D diesel engines with manual or automatic transmissions.
The first Toyota Proace vehicles are based since 2013 on the current generation Peugeot Expert and Citroën Jumpy vans. It was agreed at the start of the collaboration in 2012 that the companies would work together on next generation vehicles, and that the collaboration would last beyond 2020.
“We are delighted to present today these three new vehicles, the result of the cooperation with Toyota Motor Europe,” said Patrice Lucas, PSA Peugeot Citroën Head of Program and Strategy. “This agreement has enabled us to develop a new and efficient vehicle platform, offering our customers around the world modern products which are particularly competitive in their segment.”
“We’re very pleased that the collaboration we started in 2012 with PSA Peugeot Citroën is now delivering a brand-new generation Toyota Proace,” said TME President and CEO Johan van Zyl. “Both teams worked very hard together and at individual brand level, and I am confident that our distinctive new van with all its variants will strengthen the Toyota light commercial vehicle offer in Europe. The new Proace will complement the range of solid and durable vehicles customers are expecting from Toyota.”
The aim of the collaboration is for both companies to be able to offer a competitive product in the midsize light commercial vehicle, shuttle and Combi segments and benefit from development and production cost optimization. The vehicles are produced at PSA Peugeot Citroën’s plant of Sevelnord, in Valenciennes, France.
Toyota Motor Europe says it participated in the development and industrial investment costs for the new vehicles. The vans share all technical features, powertrains, and equipment and employ distinctive styling rooted in each of the brand’s design language.
Could the Toyota Proace come to America? It’s unlikely due to the stiff tariff on imported trucks and the fact that Toyota’s U.S. market Sienna is doing fine for the consumer market. However, with Ford, Nissan, Ram, and now Mercedes-Benz selling midsize commercial vans here, perhaps Toyota would like to join the party?
News source and photos from Toyota Motor Europe and PSA Peugeot Citroën
Story © 2015 CarNichiWa.com