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If two vans are the same, does the badge matter?

Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Toyota all sell similar vans built under the Stellantis corporate umbrella. But which one do you like?

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As a van user, have you always stayed loyal to one badge? Are you a Vauxhall lover through and through, or do you prefer something French, like a Citroën or Peugeot? What about a Fiat from Italy, or something from Japan’s Toyota?

In today’s market, brand loyalty matters less than ever as the same basic van can wear several different badges. As one example from the brands listed above, the Vauxhall Vivaro is the same van as the Citroën Dispatch, which is the same van as the Peugeot Expert, and the Fiat Scudo, and the Toyota Proace.

The vans above are not just the same vehicle, they’re mostly built in the same factory – the Vauxhall factory in Luton. This is not that surprising, since Vauxhall, Citroën, Peugeot and Fiat are all part of the giant Stellantis company.

Despite not being part of the Stellantis family, the Toyota Proace is a rebadged version of the same van as a result of a long-running deal with Groupe PSA (the predecessor to Stellantis). It’s built at another Stellantis factory in France that also builds the same vans, rather than in the UK.

This sort of vehicle sharing and rebadging is rife within the LCV market, with nearly every brand sharing its vehicles with at least one other brand.

As mentioned, the Stellantis brands share their vans (Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall) and also supply vans to Toyota. Renault provides vans to its partner Nissan and also to Mercedes-Benz, while Volkswagen shares with MAN (which it owns) and now Ford.

Today, vehicles have become more similar and less unique to their badge or heritage as manufacturers share resources and technical know-how to collaborate on ranges which are differently badged, but are almost exactly the same vehicle underneath.

Of course, the same thing happends in the passenger car market. The main difference there is that more effort is spent to at least make the cars look different to one another, whereas in the van market any changes are usually kept to the bare minimum.

Small van sharing

Citroën Berlingo, Fiat Doblo, Peugeot Partner/Rifter, Vauxhall (and Opel) Combo/Combo Life, Toyota Proace City

Renault Kangoo, Nissan Townstar, Mercedes-Benz Citan/T-Class

Volkswagen Caddy, Ford Tourneo Connect (and upcoming Ford Transit Connect)

Medium van sharing

Citroën Dispatch/SpaceTourer, Fiat Scudo/Ulysse, Peugeot Expert/Traveller, Vauxhall (and Opel) Vivaro/Vivaro Life, Toyota Proace

Renault Trafic, Nissan Primastar (this van was also the basis for the previous Vauxhall Vivaro and Fiat Talento, but both brands are now part of the Stellantis family)

Before Vauxhall was bought by Groupe PSA, it had a relationship with Renault for its van programme. So previous versions of the Vauxhall Vivaro and Movano were re-badged versions of the Renault Trafic and Master, respectively. Fiat was also part of this programme before it merged with PSA to form Stellantis, so the Fiat Talento was also a re-badged Trafic.

Ford and Volkswagen are also involde in a van joint venture, so the next-generation Ford Transit Custom will be fundamentally the same vehicle as the next-generation Volkswagen Transporter.

Large van sharing

Citroën Relay, Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, Vauxhall Movano

Renault Master, Nissan Interstar (and the previous version of the Vauxhall Movano)

Volkswagen Crafter, MAN TGE

Previously, the last-generation Volkswagen Crafter and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter were basically the same van, but the two companies decided not to continue this programme with the new versions

Pick-up sharing

Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok

Previous pick-up sharing included the Mercedes-Benz X-Class being based on the Nissan Navara (as was the Renault Alaskan, but that was never sold in the UK). Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi L200 was also sold as the Fiat Fullback.

Nissan Navara, Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Renault Alaskan

So which would you choose and why? As the vehicles are pretty much identical, there is no strong reason why one should be better than any of others. And there’s no point going for a Vauxhall just because it’s built in Britain, because identical Citroën, Fiat and Peugeot vans are built in the company’s Luton plant too.

All these well-known brands have large dealer networks with good UK coverage – their respective websites can tell you where your nearest one is simply by inputting your postcode.

So which should you choose?

As the vehicles in each of these joint ventures are pretty much identical, there’s no strong reason why one should be better than any of others. Vauxhall has leaned pretty hard on the fact that the Vivaro is ‘Built in Britain’ for several years now, but the reality is that identical Citroën, Fiat and Peugeot vans are also built in the same Luton factory, so that’s no longer a meaningful selling point.

For most buyers, if there’s no particular loyalty to one particular brand then it will come down to price or convenience. Sometimes there may be a specific trim level or special edition for one brand that tips the scales, while in other cases it may be a longer warranty that seals the deal.

Although pricing on sibling vans will be very similar, there will usually be some minor differences. The bigger savings will usually come from any particular deal you can negotiate with your dealer or broker at point of purchase.

The other key factor is convenience. If you happen to have a Toyota dealer right next door, that’s a pretty good reason to choose a Toyota van over one of its quintuplet siblings. The good news is that any dealer from any of the other brands should be able to help if you need parts or servicing, since the vans are mechanically identical.

In a similar vein, Volkswagen started offering MAN versions of its Crafter large van specifically to appeal to its existing MAN truck and bus customers, as those operators will often run vans as well. For fleet managers, having a single dealership point of contact to assist with both trucks and vans is certainly more convenient than dealing with two separate suppliers.

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Very good article, but there’s a small mistake. For VW Caddy, you mean Ford Transit/Tourneo *Connect*, not Custom.

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