Volkswagen to tackle light-duty truck market

Volkswagen's new Crafter a light-duty alternative

2019 volkswagen crafter cab-chassis

Look out Isuzu N-Series and Hino 300 Series, Volkswagen is out to steal some of your customers.

We’re in New Zealand for the Australian launch of the new-generation Volkswagen Crafter, an offering that steps up 500kgs to a new GVM of up to 5.5 tonnes.

That puts the new Volkswagen van, cab-chassis and double cab-chassis into the same ballpark as the Japanese cab-over light-duty trucks that have long dominated the segment in Australia.

Some of the key details of the new Volkswagen Crafter range include:

  • New front-wheel drive variant offering 100mm lower floor height in cargo area
  • Availability of all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive variants
  • New eight-speed ZF auto transmission
  • Only van/cab-chassis with side, front and curtain airbags
  • Standard Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Optional Adaptive Cruise Control

The new Crafter might also be able to interest some of the light-duty truck buyers away from the status quo with a new addition to the offering – genuine Volkswagen conversions.

Fitted in Poland (where the new Crafter is built in an all-new plant), Aussie Volkswagen dealerships will be able to offer a full range of different ready to go bodies and configurations, all will be covered by Volkswagen’s Factory Warranty.

Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicle Marketing Manager, Nick Reid, told us the availability of a “proper automatic transmission” (compared to the Automated Manuals common in light-duty cab-over trucks) could also be a real selling point.

Another hook could be the standard fitment of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto – systems we’re yet to see in the Japanese cab-overs.

While just a $4,500 price premium for all-wheel drive could also be enticing, according to the German brand’s representative.

Under the bonnet of the new VW Crafter is a 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel.

In standard spec you get 103kW/340Nm, while a bi-turbo version steps things up to 130kW/410Nm.

We get our first drive of the new-generation Volkswagen Crafter tomorrow, we will bring you a review of the higher-capacity versions of the Volkswagen van/cab-chassis on Thursday.

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