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Citroen Dispatch set for mid-year relaunch

Ready for Dispatch: The Citroen van shares its underpinnings with the Peugeot Expert and Traveller and the Toyota ProAce.

New-gen Citroen Dispatch to re-enter the fray and take on the Renault Trafic

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Citroen logo28 Feb 2017

CITROEN Automobiles Australia will add to its light-commercial vehicle line-up from around the middle of this year with the expected launch of the new-generation Dispatch mid-size van.

To be pitched at the 2.5-3.5 tonne van market dominated by the Toyota HiAce and Hyundai iLoad, the French designed and engineered Dispatch will compete with the slightly more premium Volkswagen Transporter, Renault Trafic, Ford Transit Custom and Mercedes-Benz Vito, which are all also out of Europe.

The Dispatch – also known as the Jumpy in some markets – underlines PSA Group’s Australian importer Sime Darby Motors Group’s push to make Citroen the commercial vehicle arm, while still offering passenger cars and crossovers such as the C4 Picasso, C3 and C4 Cactus.

According to Citroen and Peugeot Automobiles Australia national sales manager Nigel Wright, the move to introduce more Citroen LCVs means the Dispatch’s Peugeot Expert twin is unlikely to be offered here.

“As of today, the view of the business is that, rather than spread ourselves too thinly, is for us to focus our commercial vehicle range with Citroen,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Peugeot 2008 facelift in Sydney last week.

“So we’ve got the Berlingo right now, and then we’ll essentially get the Hyundai iLoad competitor in the middle of the year, and that’s the Citroen Dispatch.” The Dispatch/Jumpy is built off a specially evolved version of PSA’s lauded EMP2 lightweight architecture that underpins the latest 308 and Picasso.

Whether we see the multi-seat passenger wagon variants, sold as the SpaceTourer in Europe, alongside the workhorse versions remains unclear.

Most variants employ 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines driving the front wheels.

Citroen offered the previous-generation Citroen Dispatch Mk2 in pure commercial van guise in Australia from 2008 to 2012, powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.

While it retailed at a fairly competitive $36,990, the utilitarian van failed to gain traction in this market. The previous-generation Peugeot Expert was also sold locally during that time-frame.

Sales in the Australian mid-size van market were up a healthy 17.4 per cent in 2016, with the venerable HiAce recording 7478 registrations. The iLoad came in second with 5467 units, followed by the Transporter (1960), Trafic (1730), Transit (1205) and Vito (1153).

Meanwhile, in the smaller sub-2.5-tonne segment, the Berlingo was the fourth best-seller in 2016 with 315 sales, behind the Suzuki APV (472 sales), Renault Kangoo (1118 units) and leading Volkswagen Caddy (1706 units).

However, the Citroen’s sales rose 5.7 per cent in a segment that shrunk four per cent, to record the biggest improvement of the bunch.

It was also Citroen’s best-selling model last year, ahead of the C4 Cactus on 226 sales.

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