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/Light vehicle manufacturers, like other CV producers, have also suffered from the market downturn this year. All sectors, except 4x4 vehicles, have felt the pinch. Although the trend at this year's show is toward small improvements of existing models, there are several significant newcomers at Birmingham.
Ford is showing the new Escort for the first time and it should generate plenty of interest amongst light van buyers. Now better equipped to compete with the Vauxhall Astramax than its predecessor, it boasts a classtopping 780kg payload on the 60 model and body volume of 2.54m3. Diesel and petrol engines are carried over from the previous models except the 1.6litre petrol which is dropped in favour of a catalyst equipped 1.4CFi, which is now also offered in the Fiesta van.
Catalysts are also being offered on the two-litre Transits, except automatics and crew cabs. Ford will have a catalyst equipped eight-seater executive bus on the stand, adding E450 to the basic price.
The Defender makes its debut on the Land Rover stand. Based on the 90110 range, it gets the 200 Tdi direct injection, charge-cooled diesel engine to replace the old 2.5-litre turbo diesel. Power and torque are up by 26% and 25%, respectively, and Land Rover claims fuel consumption is down by 25% over the old model. The Defender is available with either the 200Tdi or 3.5-litre vee-eight petrol engine and also features a number of minor trim changes.
Leyland Daf is showing a number of detail changes to its 200 and 400 Series. The major change this year is the announcement of new factory warranties for all models from 1 October. Factory warranties will be extended to two years or 160,000km from then, at no extra cost. Trim changes include HI-line options on both 200 and 400 models for the 1991 model
year, an extra-high-roof option on 400 vans and 17-seater minibuses, adding around 180mm to the roof over the existing high-roof models.
Buyers of the 400 will also be relieved that power steering is now being offered as an option on diesel models for ,2510. Vee-eight models will get it as standard.
Appearing on the Mercedes stand for the first time is the 410D chassis cab. Plated at 4,600kg GVW, it is also available at a downplated 3,500kg GVW. The fivecylinder-engined 410 replaces the 408 and
the chassis cab starts at a basic price of £16,270 (ex-VAT).
The Vauxhall light commercial range makes its first Motor Show appearance since the change from the Bedford name. New at the show is the Novavan, based on the facelifted three-door Nova hatchback. Offered in 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5litre naturally aspirated diesel forms, the Novavan has gross payloads of 400kg and 415kg, respectively, and a load volume of 0.96m3.
Maximum power is 38kW (51hp) at 4,800 rpm for the IDI diesel and 42kW (56hp) at 5,600rpm for the petrol. Torque for both engines is identical — 89.6Nm (66.41bft) — but at 3,000rpm for the diesel and 2,200rprn for the petrol. Fivespeed transmission is standard on the diesel and optional on petrol models.