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GM phasing out light-duty 1500-series vans

Mon, 16 Jun 2014

In the market for a fullsize van but don't need a heavy-duty model? You're in the minority, and you're also out of luck. That's because there are barely any more fullsize vans on the market with gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 pounds, the threshold that separates light- and heavy-duty vans.

According to, neither the Ford E-Series, Ram ProMaster, nor Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are available in light-duty versions. Few of the Ford Transit configurations are, either, and now General Motors is discontinuing production of the 1500-series Chevy Express and GMC Savana.

Apparently light-duty versions accounted for just 23 percent of Express sales and only 7 percent of Savanas. Add to that the fact that these 1500 versions were the only ones using the old generation of engines and suspension, and that the Wentzville plant near St. Louis, Missouri, is trying to make room for the next Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, and the fate of the light-duty GM van was sealed.

That leaves some potential buyers of Express and Savana 1500 vans moving up to 2500 models and others moving down to smaller vehicles like the new Chevy City Express. While reports that the 1500 series could return in the future, it would likely move up above the 8,500-lb threshold – below which automakers are bound by many of the same domestic-content and fuel-economy regulations that govern passenger vehicles.

By Noah Joseph

See also: GM trademarks 'GearOn,' possibly for pickups, 2015 Sierra All Terrain HD looks ready to hit heavy-duty trails, GM recalling another 2.7 million vehicles in five separate campaigns.