A new van, the Fiat Scudo, is currently on sale in the UK and will combine a large load capacity with "MPV practicality and car-like comfort, performance and handling", according to the manufacturer.
The European light commercial vehicle (LCV) market has experienced growth in the past ten years, from around 1.3 million units in 1995 to over two million in 2005.
Fiat itself posted a record 12,895 commercial vehicle sales in the UK in 2006, helped partly by the "extremely successful" model that the new Scudo will replace.
The new model will be available in 18 versions from launch, with the range encompassing panel vans, platform cabs and commercial passenger vehicles. Larger length, height and width dimensions are available with the new Scudo, which offers a maximum volume of seven cubic metres and a payload of 1,200 kg.
A choice of three common rail, direct injection, turbodiesel engines are available with the LCV â€“ a 1.6-litre, 90bhp unit and 120bhp and 140bhp variants of a two-litre engine.
All three units are fitted with an exhaust gas recirculation system, which is designed to reduce gaseous emissions and ensure that Euro IV limits are met.
The Scudo has also been designed with security in mind â€“ it features selective remote central locking and is available with deadlocks, meaning it has been awarded the highest Thatcham anti-theft rating in its class.