Automotive News reports the van twins — which have not had a major update since 2003 — will likely remain at GM’s Wentzville, Missouri plant after the EV switch. At that point, the internal combustion engines (including the new-ish 6.6-liter 401 horsepower V8) will be eliminated entirely.
The current Patty and Selma van twins are based on a platform that dates back to 1996. In recent years, they’ve largely been overshadowed by newer offerings like the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. You also can’t discount smaller vans like the Ram ProMaster City and Ford Transit Connect taking valuable marketshare from the older GM vans.
But commercial and fleet customers still seem to love the Express and Savana, particularly in cargo-van or cab-and-chassis format. Companies that make conversion vehicles, like mini-buses, box trucks, or utility bodies for contractors, love the fact that the GM van twins have had few year-to-year changes that would require retooling.
GM is also expanding its commercial electric van fleet with BrightDrop, which launched the Zevo 600 delivery van and also plans to start selling the smaller Zevo 400 van in 2023.
According to Automotive News, Chevy only delivered 44,355 Express vans in 2021. That number is down almost half from 2019 when it sold over 77,000 vans, a drop that’s largely attributed to the pandemic-related microchip shortage. Compare that to the van’s peak in 2005 at over 127,000 sold.
However, the Express sold like gangbusters compared to the Savannah. GMC sold fewer than 18,000 examples of its van last year, and that’s down from over 24,000 in 2019.
You can see why GM may need to shake things up in the van department. However, it all may be a bit of a bummer for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it crowd.” For them, this is a sad day.