Ram to Produce Commercial Van in Mexico

Ram Ducato II
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company is planning to expand its assembly plant in Mexico to produce the larger Ram commercial van, sold as the Fiat Ducato in Europe. Chrysler’s Saltillo assembly plant currently produces select Ram 1500 and Ram HD pickups. 

“Hopefully it will become the center for production of light commercial vehicles in North America for us,” Marchionne said.

The front-wheel-drive commercial van, which will be based on the full-size Ducato, will be launched in 2013, Marchionne said. Fiat shares the platform with France’s PSA Peugeot Citron.

No comment was made as to whether this platform could support a pickup truck variant, but we hear the vehicles come off the line as chassis cab models and are then fitted with a shell as orders dictate. If the Saltillo plant works the same way, it would be quite easy produce a smallish, work-duty, unibody-platformed pickup truck. 

Ram Ducato Int II

Ram Ducato 2 II

Comments

I hope it won't be as ugly as this Fiat.

No sense putting the drive axle where the weight is

Oh but all the profits go back to the US and the UNION, blah, blah blah blah.

Oy vey.

I don't even know where to begin.

HD front drive van? That will go over real well with the "traditional" truck guy types. I doubt that they would bring a HD front drive to NA. It wouldn't be that hard to put a drive axle in the rear. I do think that they have a AWD version, so (perceived) problem solved.

@Mark Williams
They come from the factory as a cab chassis, do not need special outfitters.
The Ducato is used extensively as a small Motorhome base in Europe and elsewhere, much more popular than the Sprinter. Very easy to drive, very flat through corners.

A 27ft Motorhome.
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a186/RobRyan7/Trakkaway830_022.gif?t=1241841880

@Fred G what you see is what you get, they are not that offensive in the metal.

TUNDRA, where's the weight in a tractor trailer? As a unit, it's essentially a front-wheel-drive, as it pulls the load as opposed to lifting/carrying it.

Lou, this is not an HD vehicle (that's the IVECO Daily). The Ducato is the equivalent of a Ford E150 and light-duty E250. The Daily would match with the heavy E250, E350, and E450.

@RoadTrip - thanks for the clarification. The picture made it look physically bigger.
@Robert Ryan - thanks for the pic. It looks real good as a motorhome.

@RoadTrip:

A semi tractor's rear drive can be over 50% of the total trailer weight depending on trailer design.

That thing should be dirt cheap given Mexico production and the front wheel drive train.

Unless Fiat makes a knock down production kit for assembly in the states, I'd guess the chicken tax could be an issue.

@Lou, @Ken The Motto for the Ducato is "Born to be a Motorhome"
http://www.fiatcamper.com/en/home

@RoadTrip correct . The IVECO Daily is built on a "Lorry" chassis as the British term it. 15,000lb GVWR 23,000lb GCVWR

And I thought the Dodge/Srinter was ugly.

@Ken

There's free trade with Mexico built trucks completed or not. Even with trucks brought over straight form Italy, the chicken tax doesn't apply to cab N chassis'. Nor does it apply to passenger vans. Cargo vans could come over from Italy as passenger vans then gutted of its seats and window openings welded/glued shut. Of course Mexico is the better option.

@Robert Ryan

That motorhome reminds my of the old GMC FWDs. They also had the low floor/center of gravity.

@DenverMike a Few builders in Australia are using them as as Class B/C bases. Unlike the Europeans we fit slideouts
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a186/RobRyan7/SunlinerDucatoSlideout.jpg

The Isuzu Base is unique to Australia/New Zealand, as they have a 19,000lb GVWR and a 27,000lb GCVWR. They are cheap and can tow roughly 8000lb Handling is good , roll more through corners than the Sprinter/Ducato/IVECO
http://www.sunliner.com.au/images/stories/thumbnail/mainimage__OhaMWpkxCTixEMIFsLwd_1322437919.jpg

Ram is not a domestic anymore so of course they are expanding in Mexico!

Mexico means it is imported!

Fiat ownership means it's an Italian import made in Mexico!

@Robert Ryan

That Isuzu makes the Ducato look cheesy especially those hubcaps but it doesn't look like the cab tilts.

@Denvermike No it does not. It is integrated with the rest of the body. The Ducato was supposed to be getting a stability control as well, that is disabled for longer Motorhome use, but many agree that it handles and rides like a large car, so it does not need it.
Strangely they do not use the Ducato much as a van. That is handled mainly for that size of Van, by the Hyundai ILOAD or Toyota Vans
http://www.privatefleet.com.au/images/upload/Image/ILOAD.jpg

http://www.privatefleet.com.au/images/upload/Image/Toyota_Hiace_Long-van_Super-GL_001.jpg

Ken, my point is, the power is at the front of the combined vehicle, as if it were a FWD single unit. The equivalent of a rear wheel drive would require the drive axles to be under the rear of the trailer.

@Denvermike A European Scania Horsebox(Think upper Level Class A with a separate airconditioned area for the horses) on the other hand it's cab tilts.
http://www.lehelcoachbuilders.com/images/belgium/DSC06328.JPG

Thats the reason I'll never buy a Ram 1500. There made in Mexico. Don't want a guberment motors truck either. Ford #1

Nice! Momma like. Very interesting concept with front wheel drive and all. I hope it works out.

GO Fiat!

@Dale Milner

I thought the F150 is build in Mexico too?

Yeah, it looks funny and all, but just saying it could do the job for many (certainly not all) Super Duty 450 chassis/cab buyers, I bet it will sell if the price of fuel becomes high enough. It will probably have a low purchase price, which will help fleet sales tremendously.

American made cars owe there demise to the damn unions. Sure unions did provide some imperative beneftis, but with a company, costs had to be cut. Thanks workers, by sending overseas we gain more jobs in the domestic market. Now if we could eliminate the foreign professionals that are taught by the money our country sends with jobs, everything would be okay.One good thing is that with higher wages usually comes higher production. Thats why i say not everything is wrong with unions. Only 99%

A worker earning 2 dollars in mexico produces less than an american making 20 an hour. I am in favor of eliminating the minimum wage anyways. It only benefits the young teens, who fill up the most minimum wage jobs, and ironically, have the highest rates of unemployment.

To all the naysayers: Contractors and tradesmen in Europe face the same issues as do their American counterparts, and this Fiat has been working just fine for them for years. It'll work fine here too.

American businesses have seen the usefulness of the Sprinter vans, and will soon see that in the full-size Ford Transit, as well as this Ram/Fiat. Big honkin' Peterbilt-like grilles fortunately don't drive those purchases, but rather sensible consideration for what the task is at hand.

There's a shifter in the cup holder... I'd rather have a cup holder there myself.

I could see this vehicle working for commercial use especially just an unfinished model. You could put a flatbed on it or put sides on it and use it similiar to the Isuzu commercial vehicles. Put a diesel in it and its uses are limitless. Price it below anything similar and this would sell. Interesting pictures Robert. As I have mentioned in the past my handyman want an Isuzu to set tools up in. This might work just as well.

This is a good move. The quality of assembly coming out of Mexico is pretty darn good for ALL auto manufacturers who have plants there. In fact, a heck of a lot better than anything the UAW puts together, and at a lower labor cost.

Judging from all the stuff that Fiatsler has made in Mexico, the improved quality has helped their bottom line. Can't say the same about their stuff imported from Detroit.

looks odd but not bad i guess

@Dale Milner: My Ram 1500 is actually built in the states. The engine was built in Mexico. Oh, but you drive a Ford, lets see they build alot in Mexico as well, and Canada too. My truck is about 76% US parts content, maybe you should check your Ford window sticker (the little one they take off, telling you parts content) Ford has alot less of US parts content per F-150, Toyota Tundra has more. Atleast it's made Asia.

OOPS, meant to say atleast it's NOT made in ASIA

@TRX4 Tom. True. My 2010 F150 is 65% US content. Canadian parts count as USA content so who knows? It is now down to 61% (2011 stats).
The ironic thing is: my wife's Sienna is more "American" than my F150.
Might as well as build them in Mexico. It must be some sort of illegal alien strategy. Give all the jobs to Mexico to keep them from sneaking across the border.

http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=top&subject=ami&story=amMade0710
http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=top&subject=ami&story=amMade0611

Let me get this right. We bailed out Chrysler to make it more palatable for a foreign company to buy. Then Fiat goes to Mexico with our bailout $$$. Soon all of the pickups will be built there as well. We should have just let Chrysler/Ram collapse. Fiat would have bought it anyway.

Chrsyler needs to go back to making the Ram Van, not this wimpy foreign crap.

@Lou, yeah I can relate to that. I've been working in a chicken plant before, lots of illegal workers. Lots of people that can't (or wont) speak english. Although most are hard workers, theres a right way and a wrong way.

@TRX4 Tom - I'm a real long way from any borders so I wouldn't have any real experience with illigals, but I bet there are some in my community. It is too bad that big government and big business has decided that it is okay to kill the middle class by exporting their jobs to Mexico, or other impoverished countries.
In the '70's my region had a huge influx of immigrants from India, Pakistan and other countries of that region. It was interesting to see the animosity directed to them as they were willing to do all of the heavy manual labour jobs that no one else wanted to do. A few guys were complaining to my dad and he bluntly pointed out " If you lazy bastards would do the jobs they do, there wouldn't be any jobs for them, and they wouldn't of immigated here".

Yeah, I don't have an issue people want a better way of life they come to the US. Becuase unless a person here is American Indian, they or their relatives came here from somewhere. But there is a right way. And alot of people here are too lazy, that's a fact.



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