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UK TRIAL FOR THE KOMBI CONCEPT

THE UK has never really taken to the Kombi concept putting rear seats and windows in a van body because our taxation rules raise the price to nearly 2,000 more than the van, and it incurs the full wrath of the VAT man. Yet Ford believes that now is the time to try.

In many European countries Spain, France and Italy in particular where there is no similar tax limitation, Kombis outsell their van counterparts. Ford is hoping that the added versatility of folding seats, which still offer a good load volume, will push the concept here. The company has just secured a deal with the Post Office in the UK for the supply of 400 Kombis this year, which should provide a mobile advertisement for the concept.

Ford has some further van plans up its sleeves this year. March will see the launch of a 70 PS turbocharged version of the ever popular diesel- powered Escort van and the firm will introduce a basic, short wheelbase version of the Transit aimed at the small business by the end of spring.

The firms Maverick 4x4, which is built alongside Nissans Terrano II in Spain, will have its rear windows panelled this year, offering a van version of the three-door car. Prices have yet to be announced.