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Aussie tilt for Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert

Tech fest: Both the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert vans feature hands-free sliding side doors, a head-up display, a road sign-reading camera and active safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning.

Peugeot-Citroen importer Sime Darby studying local case for new Expert and Dispatch


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31 Mar 2016

AUSTRALIAN Peugeot and Citroen importer Sime Darby is in talks with the French factory to determine whether it will bring the just-revealed, technology-packed Citroen Jumpy (known in English-speaking markets as Dispatch) and Peugeot Expert mid-size vans to this market.

Last year Sime Darby stopped selling commercial vehicles in Australia under the Peugeot brand, leaving Citroen with the small Berlingo van as the sole commercial offering in its range and leading to speculation that in future, Citroen alone would carry the PSA commercial vehicle flag in Australia.

However, Peugeot’s success in entering the Australian fleet market late last year in deals with supermarket chain Woolworths and cosmetics brand Nutrimetics may put the brand back in the game for commercial vehicles.

Sime Darby Motors Group PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen told GoAuto that the cessation of local Peugeot commercial vehicle sales was the company “stepping back and looking at the big picture of what both brands needed to offer in Australia and how the model line-ups will be structured”.

“These two vehicles (Dispatch and Express) form part of that and it will depend on both our discussions with PSA and what we believe is best for both brands locally,” he said.

“That’s not to say both will get it, or that neither will get it or that one will and one won’t – we’re looking at everything at present.” Jointly developed with Toyota, which will sell a version in European markets badged Proace, the Dispatch and Expert vans are based on PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s EMP2 platform that also underpins passenger cars including the Peugeot 308 and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso people-mover.

As such, car-like active safety features are offered, such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, collision detection and mitigation with autonomous emergency braking and driver fatigue warning In addition, a sign-reading camera working with the van’s satellite navigation system pre-sets the van’s electronic speed governor to the prevailing limit so it can be activated by the driver with a single button press.

Continuing the list of technology available is a head-up display, hands-free sliding side doors activated by waving a foot under the vehicle, automatic high-beam, a 180-degree reversing camera that automatically zooms in on obstacles and a tablet-like 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink smartphone integration.

The passenger car underpinnings are claimed to help offer a quiet interior, comfortable ride and precise steering when laden or unladen due to variable-stiffness springs and load-sensitive dampers, while the maximum 1400kg payload, 6.6 cubic metre load volume (on the largest variant) and 2500kg towing capacity suggest none of this comes at the expense of practicality.

On the subject of practicality, the Moduwork front passenger seat can be lifted to provide extra cabin storage space or, via a flap in the bulkhead, allows long objects to be slotted through for an additional 1.16-metre load length. It also provides an adjustable writing panel, smartphone cradle and fold-down non-slip surface with elastic to keep tablets or laptops from sliding.

Both vans are made in 4.6-metre, 4.95m and 5.3m lengths, with the shorter two being low-slung enough to access most underground and multi-storey car parks at 1.9m in height, provided the optional raised suspension or four-wheel-drive options are not selected.

The 5.3m version has the option of doors that open flat against the van’s sides to prevent them taking up pavement space.

Dual-cab options are available on the longer two body sizes, and all three lengths can be had as ‘combi’ variants with seating for up to nine people. The mid-length version is also available as a pseudo cab-chassis for custom conversions.

Power comes from a range of six four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines ranging in outputs from 70kW and 210Nm to 130kW and 400Nm, with the 85k/300Nm manual most efficient at 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres and 133 grams per kilometre of CO2.

PSA claims the vans have the segment-lowest fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and that the vehicles are between 100kg and 300kg lighter than competitors with the same engine power. In addition to fuel savings, service intervals of 40,000km or two years promise to keep running costs down.

Passenger-focussed people-mover versions of the Dispatch and Expert, respectively named Spacetourer and Traveller, were revealed at the Geneva motor show earlier this month but Mr Bowen said the focus for now was on commercial variants.

“At this stage it’s mostly the commercials, pending on how the discussions go,” he said.

“I’ve not heard anything about either of those at this stage but pending the outcome of discussions we’ll see what happens.”

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