Citroen Automobiles Australia has confirmed its light-commercial vehicle range will expand mid-year with the anticipated arrival of the next-generation Dispatch mid-size van.
The 2.5-3.5-tonne van segment is currently topped by the Hyundai iLoad and Toyota HiAce, but the Dispatch could be positioned as a more premium offering against the likes of the Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter and Mercedes-Benz Vito – which are also European designed and engineered.
Local importer Sime Darby Motors Group is looking to structure Citroen as parent company PSA Group's commercial vehicle arm, in addition to selling its passengers cars such as the C3, C4 Cactus and C4 Picasso.
Multi-seat passenger wagon versions of the new van – which are badged as the SpaceTourer in Europe – remain a possibility for Australia.
Citroen and Peugeot Australia sales boss Nigel Wright said the arrival of the Dispatch – which is called the Jumpy in some overseas markets – means its platform-sharing Peugeot Expert twin is likely to not be offered Down Under.
At the media launch of the facelifted Peugeot 2008 in Sydney last week, Mr Wright also revealed that PSA wants to avoid spreading itself too thinly, meaning commercial offerings will be the sole domain of Citroen – which already offers the small-size Berlingo van.
A modified version of PSA's EMP2 lightweight architecture – which is currently used in the 308 and Picasso – provides the underpinnings for the Dispatch.
Multi-seat passenger wagon versions of the new van – which are badged as the SpaceTourer in Europe – remain a possibility for Australia, but are not confirmed to arrive alongside the Dispatch as yet.
Power is sent to the front wheels of the new Citroen, which is offered overseas with either a 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre diesel engine.
This is not the first time the French brand has offered the Dispatch locally, as the previous-generation model was on sale from 2008 to 2012, featuring a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.
Australian mid-size van sales increased by 17.4 per cent last year.
At the time, the van's price point was $36,990 which, despite being competitive, was not enough to translate into strong sales in the market.
Australian mid-size van sales increased by 17.4 per cent last year, topped by the HiAce with 7478 units, followed by the iLoad (5467), Transporter (1960) and Trafic (1730).
Meanwhile, the Berlingo achieved 315 sales in 2016, which was good enough for fourth place in sub-2.5 tonne segment, behind the Volkswagen Caddy (1706), Renault Kangoo (1118) and Suzuki APV (472).
The small French van's sales improved by 5.7 per cent, which was the best performance in a market that decreased by four per cent.
Overall, the Berlingo was also Citroen's best-selling model last year, ahead of the C4 Cactus which moved 226 examples.
Will the Dispatch's tech-packed feature set be enough for you to consider purchasing the French van? Tell us what you think in the comments below.