Iveco hasn’t had a lot of good news in Australia lately, but this week the company had some reason to celebrate after it inked a deal with leading vehicle rental company Europcar for a 195 Iveco Daily vans and Pantech bodied cab chassis light trucks.

Europcar purchased an initial batch of Daily vans in 2017 and has fast grown its Iveco commercial vehicle fleet in subsequent years, culminating with its latest acquisition of 195 Daily units.

Iveco’s large Daily order comes  just a couple of weeks after it announced it would be closing local manufacturing operations at Dandenong and would become a full import company.

Comprising 150 vans and 45 pantech-bodied cab chassis, the new vehicles are currently being delivered to Europcar outlets around Australia, and the company says it will further assist it in expanding its presence in the commercial vehicle rental market.

An additional 241 units are also on order and due to enter service with Europcar in the first half of 2022.

The Daily 35S van models that Europcar have specified boast a12 cubic metre volume, and can be driven on a passenger car licence with a generous load-carrying ability, while remaining easy-to-drive and manoeuvrable for drivers of all levels of experience according to Iveco.

Iveco also said that the vans’ ease of use is further assisted by its market-leading 8-speed full automatic transmission which is matched to a new 2.3l 136hp Euro 6-rated turbodiesel engine, delivering ample power combined with enhanced emission performance and fuel efficiency.

The cab chassis models (45C) can also be driven on a car licence and are equipped with a larger 3.0l Euro 6-rated turbodiesel engine which produces 180hp and 430Nm. These light trucks feature a Pantech body and rear tail lifter, allowing for easy loading and unloading.

A key differentiator of the Daily range – especially compared to cab-over competitors – is its superior safety performance. The models offer a full suite of standard safety equipment that includes four SRS Airbags, Advanced Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, front and rear disc brakes with ABS and ‘ESP 9’, IVECO’s advanced electronic stability program.

According to Europcar commercial director, Jonathan Dexter, offering rental customers access to a fleet with superior safety was extremely important for the business.

“The Daily range provides an impressive overall safety package and fits well with our brand’s position in the market as a company that operates a modern, safe and reliable fleet,” Mr Dexter said.

“We’re also mindful that many of our customers are not full-time drivers of commercial vehicles, so providing them with vans and light trucks that are easy-to-use, while still having a large payload is important.

“Certainly, the customer feedback on the Dailys continues to be very positive nationally – customers enjoy the functionality of the vehicles as well as their sleek European design, it’s a strong point of difference for us compared to other rental fleets.

“The Daily is also a standout performer when it comes to emission performance, and again this aligns well with our corporate sustainability goals.”

Europcar’s recent Daily purchases are due to both an increased demand for commercial vehicle rentals as well as the company’s fleet rejuvenation program, which sees the company rotate its commercial vehicle fleet every 36 months on average.

Mr Dexter said that the Europcar had experienced strong demand for its services in recent months.

“In the business-to-business space, we’ve seen growth in the transport and logistics sector on the back of demand increasing for home deliveries, including directly from retailers pivoting to delivery models,” he said.

The new vehicles are also providing Europcar with some ongoing cost benefits.

For rental companies the major cost associated with running their fleets is servicing and maintenance expenses, and in this regard the Dailys fare extremely well, says Europcar fleet director, Michelle Coventry.

“There are reduced maintenance costs in running the IVECO Dailys thanks in part to their longer oil change intervals (50,000km), which deliver ongoing, measurable benefits for us and our customers,” Ms Coventry said.

“We’re enjoying growing our relationship with IVECO and looking at expansion opportunities between our companies for the future.”