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IVECO brings a totally new line-up of its Daily van, light truck and people mover range to the world stage.

A new product launch is always exciting, and when it comes from IVECO there’s always the suggestion that there’s more to the story than first thought. That was certainly the case when IVECO recently lifted the wraps off the extensive model range in a private briefing in Turin, followed by a short drive evaluation programme at the giant Balocco proving ground operated by Fiat on behalf of all the group brands.

A new product launch is always exciting, and when it comes from IVECO there’s always the suggestion that there’s more to the story than first thought. That was certainly the case when IVECO recently lifted the wraps off the extensive model range in a private briefing in Turin, followed by a short drive evaluation programme at the giant Balocco proving ground operated by Fiat on behalf of all the group brands.

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Before drilling down into the differences of the new products, it’s important to look in detail at the corporate structure that now underpins the IVECO brand, especially for those in the Australian market with long memories about the company’s links to the International Truck marque. For those with even longer memories, it also signifies the creation of IVECO in 1975, which was developed from the merging of brands that included FIAT, OM, Lancia, Magirus, UNIC and others.

These days, the controlling structure of the brands such as IVECO, Magirus, IVECO Bus, IVECO ASTRA, IVECO Defence Vehicles, Heuliez Bus, New Holland Agriculture, Case Agriculture, Steyr, Case Construction and New Holland Construction starts with a complete oversight since 2013 by CNH Industrial (Case New Holland Industrial). There is commonality throughout the group when it comes to engine development and supply, and this brings in the additional corporate division of FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies).

From a global perspective IVECO employs over 27,000 personnel, manages 22 production sites in 11 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania and Latin America and supports these activities through sales and service outlets in over 160 countries. Shift the focus from global coverage to that of the Asia Pacific Region responsible for the Australian market, and CNH Industrial operates in 13 countries through more than 2,000 dealers and importers with over 5,000 sales points. In maintaining the necessary APAC reach the company has 12 joint ventures and employs more than 5000 direct personnel.

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In the emerging automotive industry of China the IVECO presence started in 1985 when it developed the first joint venture (JV) between China and a Western manufacturer in the area of commercial vehicles. This JV subsequently developed into IVECO being the first Western brand to export from China. The JVs established in China produced synergies such as the acquisition of Hongyan with SAIC and Chongong heavy machinery, and the establishment of NAVECO for light and medium-duty trucks. In 2000 IVECO also moved into the Brazilian market to develop its presence in South America. In 2013 IVECO global production exceeded 290,000 units, of which 122,000 were produced directly by IVECO and the remaining 171,000 units through the corporate joint venture partnerships. Global revenues for 2013 amounted to US$ 11.5 billion.

The emergence of joint venture associations at this stage does not impact on the Australian market, and, when concentrating on the commercial vehicle segment the revenue from the different weight categories, sees a market split in favour of medium commercial vehicles of 13 percent, light commercial vehicles of 30 percent, special-purpose vehicles of 9 percent, 15 percent buses and 33 percent heavy commercial vehicles. Daily is undoubtedly important to IVECO as its major global vehicle offering. Distributed in 110 countries, total sales in Europe have now exceeded a total of 2,090,000 units, with an additional 420,000 in China and 90,000 in Latin America to top out total sales worldwide of 2,600,000 units. The 2015 Daily range consists of more than 8,000 different combinations of chassis, engines and mechanical parts, and includes vans, single and dual-chassis/cabs, chassis cowls and minibus versions, and is far more than a facelift and some styling design upgrades. Although part of the floor structure of the van range is continued from the current model, over 80 percent of body parts are totally new, and engines and drivetrains sourced through Fiat PowerTrain (FPT) are also new.

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The New Daily is produced at the IVECO Suzzara plant, near Mantova in Italy, and at the IVECO Valladolid plant in Spain. Both facilities participate in the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) programme, one of the top manufacturing standards in the world, earning the silver medal with scores among the highest in their class. Although the Australian market continues at present with Euro V diesel emissions levels, FPTs latest engines see the options of three 2.3-litre units and six 3.0-litre units in horsepower ratings of 106 hp through to 205 hp with maximum torque outputs ranging from 270 Nm through to 470 Nm. Three of the higher power and torque options in the 3.0-litre capacity engines are all rated at Euro VI emissions levels, and these use a combination of EGR and SCR systems. In the light truck cab/chassis market there’s a choice of six different wheelbases covering the availability of both single rear wheel and dual rear wheel specifications. For the Daily Minibus there’s also the option of a CNG-fuelled eco-engine to power the 22-seat plus driver and hostess interior layout that now benefits from an increase in luggage space by 30 percent to 2.5 cubic metres.

Most of the Daily purchasers will find a newly revised Quad-Leaf front suspension system of double swing arms with a transverse semi-elliptical spring under the front end with a maximum axle rating of 1900 kg. For heavy-duty application there’s an additional option that sees this independent front suspension system changed to a design using double wishbones and torsion bars and a maximum front axle load rating of 2,500 kg. Air suspension is also available for the rear axle on all models, and there are 15 different rear axle ratios to suit operational applications.

For the van buyer, the extended range of GVM and payload offerings will see Daily being able to compete strongly with the well-established Japanese brands producing cabover light trucks. At the top of the van range, from a weight perspective, Daily will be offering a GVM of 7,000 kg and a maximum payload of 4,700 kg, all with a maximum power rating of 205 hp and peak torque output of 470 Nm.

This 7,000 kg GVM rated Daily is one big van and offers a maximum cargo volume of 19.6 cubic metres. The advantage here for intrastate operation is obvious as driver and passenger comfort levels are very similar to those associated with passenger cars. Safety inclusions such as ESP (Electronic Stability Control) and ABS are both standard inclusions, and Lane Departure Warning is available as an option. But it’s the actual driving experience that will be the guiding factor when it comes to convincing the prospective customer to sign the order form.

The size of the 7,000 kg GVM van would suggest that it’s going to be a handful in small city streets from a manoeuvrability perspective. Probably because Italian streets can be notoriously narrow IVECO has provided even this largest van version with a turning circle of 10.5 metres, better in fact than many utes currently on sales in Australia.

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IVECO’s Australian sales and marketing team were keeping the lid on the full details of the range that we will be seeing in the Australian market when it goes on sale in 2015, but from a van perspective the choice is all encompassing. Cargo volumes on offer include 7.3 cubic metres, 9.0 cubic metres, 10.8 cubic metres, 12.0 cubic metres, 13.4 cubic metres, 16.0 cubic metres, 17.5 cubic metres, 18.0 cubic metres and max out at 19.6 cubic metres. This huge dimensional range is achieved by extending wheelbases, offering a choice of roof heights and a variety of rear overhang measurements past the rear axle. None of the vehicles on display previewed with top hinged tailgates, and all featured side-hinged barn door designs. The sliding side load doors are large enough to facilitate pallet loading by forklifts, and there’s a choice of different sizes of bulkheads to seal off the cabin area where required.

One interesting feature not seen in van design before was the availability of a plug-type front kerbside door, similar to those used in minibus and coach bodies. This is a great idea for couriers and PUD fleets where the driver can access the walkthrough interior of the cargo area and then exit and enter through the plug-door that opens flush to the side of the body. It’s a great safety feature for pedestrians that will now not be able to walk into the open door, and it also should remove the risk of door panel damage in confined spaces.

There’s a lot to like about the new Daily range, especially for those buyers that like to feel comfortable with established engineering practices.

For starters, the engine and transmission are installed longitudinally north/south rather than transverse east/west with power going to the rear wheels. This remains the best drivetrain solution for high cargo load carrying and ensures the best traction ability, especially when on wet roads during hill climbing where some front-wheel-drive alternatives develop wheelspin if it’s not checked by traction control systems.

Under the van and throughout the single and dual-cab versions you’ll find a ladder frame chassis. This increases torsional stiffness of the vehicle, allows the suspension to work off the chassis and not off the body, and generally produces better handling and directional stability. The inclusion of a chassis frame hasn’t impacted on cargo floor height, with IVECO claiming the floor of the new Daily is actually 55 mm lower in the single rear wheel models than its predecessor.

The manufacturing values evident amongst the preview launch models were to a very high standard, and doors shut with a firm clunk rather than a metallic clang. The interior noise levels in the cabins were very low indeed and this contributes immensely to low driver stress and reduced driver fatigue.

Seating was comfortable, and the interaction between drivers of different sizes in relation to the placement of the steering wheel and other controls was excellent and should enable all sizes of driver to find a comfortable ergonomic solution. The available storage space inside the cabin should also appeal to those that spend long periods at the wheel. Both seat squabs in the dual passenger seat hinge up to provide access to under-seat storage, and in addition there’s a full width parcel shelf above the windscreen, a choice of lockers in the dashboard and huge pockets in the doors.

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FPT has done a great job in developing its new Euro V and Euro VI engine range, and these four-cylinder diesels are responsive with plenty of strong torque delivery through a relatively flat torque curve. Drivers working on freeways will also find the torque delivery impressive, and the engine rpm levels at maximum cruise speed are very low, contributing to lower fuel consumption as well as minimising interior cabin engine noise. IVECO engineers claim that fuel savings can be expected in the range from 5.5 to 14 percent, with maintenance and repair costs lowered by around 5 percent.

We’ve saved what we think will be an absolute clincher until last. The new Daily will be available from launch date with a six-speed manual and the six-speed automated manual transmission called Agile. But for those prepared to wait a couple of months, there’s an additional bonus of being able to select the magnificent eight-speed torque converter automatic from ZF that’s already a feature in prestige cars such as the Jaguar and Range Rover.

Also rather unique is the availability of a Telma electromagnetic retarder providing an independent additional braking system of up to 350 Nm of braking torque, a locking rear differential, larger fuel tank capacity of 100 litres against the standard 70-litre tank, and a wider tyre fitment option.

IVECO wasn’t giving much away during the global launch of the Daily as to timing for the availability of the ZF eight-speed, but Delivery believes it’s anticipated by March 2015. In our view, the torque delivery of the higher output FPT engines and the smoothness of the ZF eight-speed will prove to be a formidable choice.

Source: http://www.deliverymagazine.com.au/car-reviews-delivery/daily-news

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