LUTON, UK - General Motors Europe and Renault expect to confirm by mid-year that they are going ahead with their joint van project announced a year ago.
The three-tonne GVW vehicle will replace the Renault Trafic and GM Arena.
General Motors' IBC plant in Luton, UK, will produce the joint-venture van and badge it Opel, Vauxhall or Renault according to requirements.
The installation of $48 million of tooling has been scheduled, said Vauxhall Managing Director Nick Reilly, and the vehicle should be launched 'within three years.' This is GME's first whole-vehicle collaboration.
Engineering development is centered at Renault, with participation by 20 engineers from GM. Another joint team is preparing for production at IBC. The manufacturers' teams will work separately on GM or Renault derivatives.
'The project is officially in the development phase,' said Reilly. 'Around the middle of the year we will confirm we are going ahead. Changes in technology, market requirement, international finance and the activities of the competition mean we have re-confirmation written into the agreement. But we are very committed.
'Shared investment is necessary and it is our way of getting a purpose-designed commercial vehicle, rather than one derived from a car.'
The IBC plant also produces the Frontera off-roader.
Pre-production of the second-generation Frontera has already begun, after a $160 million investment in tooling.