Tire Market: The EuroVans Are Here!

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Ram ProMaster City – one of the many new EuroVans you’re going to see in your shop.
(Photo: FCA)

Are you ready to service the growing number of work vans with European origins?

The light commercial vehicle landscape in Canada has changed over the past 5 years, and continues to evolve. Today, commercial vans are in many areas replacing the pick-up truck as the dominant commercial vehicle. Some reasons for this are simple – a van keeps goods dry and secure, and the cubic cargo capacity of a van is greater than that of a pick-up truck.

Another reason for the growth in the number of commercial vans on the road is choice. Today, if you are shopping for a large commercial van you have the choice of Chevrolet Express, Ford Transit, GMC Savana, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV and Ram ProMaster.

In the fall, a mid-sized commercial van will be available – the Mercedes-Benz Metris. If you want a small commercial van, you have the choice of Chevrolet City Express, Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 or Ram ProMaster City.

European sizing

As a tire retailer, you should be prepared to service the growing number of commercial vans on the road. Some vans are equipped with commercial tires that are new to the Canadian marketplace. Below are examples:

  • Ford Transit – large van – 235/65R16C 121/119R LRE. The C in the description after the wheel diameter denotes Commercial application. This is European commercial sizing. Look at the Load Index – this tire is actually a Load Range E.
  • Chevrolet City Express / Nissan NV200 – small van – 185/60R15C 94/92T LRC. Again the C in the description after the wheel diameter denotes Commercial application. This is European commercial sizing. However, in this case, the tire is also a Load Range C.

These tire sizes are not strange in the Canadian market. Both sizes have been used as OE on passenger vehicles for years. However, these are commercial applications and the Load Index in each case is far higher than a passenger tire in the same size. In effect, these are LT tires, but they use the European nomenclature. The LT at the start of the tire size is replaced by the C after the wheel diameter. Do not replace these tires with passenger tires in the same size, or an alternate size.

Smaller vans

In the small van category, you must also pay close attention to the tires on the Ford Transit Connect and the Ram ProMaster City.

  • Ford Transit Connect – Generation 1 – P205/65R15 95T XL
  • Ford Transit Connect – Generation 2 – 215/55R16 97H XL or 215/50R17 95H XL
  • Ram ProMaster City – 215/55R16 97H XL

These are XL Extra Load tires. All replacement tires must be XL Extra Load.

Winter concerns

Approaching winter, attention to the specs on the commercial van sizes listed above is extremely important. In these sizes, there may be limited choice and availability of winter tires with the correct Load Index / Load Range. It is important that you explain the value of doing the right thing to your consumer, and even more important, that you, as the tire professional, do the right thing.

Commercial vans carry loads. The tire must be able to support the load. The wrong Load Index / Load Range can result in tire failure. Pay attention to the tire specs, install the right tires and keep your customers safe.

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