Commercial fleet pickup truck buyers are a little different from individual truck customers; they're not so much concerned with horsepower, expensive frills and details, or the latest and greatest creature comforts. Instead, their priorities are more practical and for the long-term, and when they buy, they usually buy in large numbers. That's why Ram Truck has been pushing so hard lately to offer a better portfolio of options for fleet buyers to better compete with Ford and General Motors.
According to Automotive News, almost 90 percent of commercial fleet buyers are split between Ford and GM, with most of the remainder going to Ram Truck. Of course, as the economy continues to pick up strength and businesses get ready to update aging fleets, there is plenty of money to be made here.
All the truck makers offer a good selection of chassis cab options and several different full-size and midsize vans. In fact, Chevrolet recently announced it will offer a new, smaller cargo van through its commercial dealership networks in 2014. The downsized van, called the City Express, is part of a partnership with Nissan as it shares Nissan's NV200 platform. It will be available through the GM dealer network. Additionally, Ram Commercial has also announced it will be coming to market with its own downsized cargo van (based off the Fiat Doblo) later next year.
We expect as more competition hits this part of the truck market and more money is at stake for all the domestic pickup makers, we'll see more attention being paid to these bare-bones models. Whether Ram Commercial can take away marketshare in this segment from the more established players will depend on fleet buyers being willing to take a risk on a new lineup.
Currently there are several compact cargo vans available, with larger models headed to the U.S. shortly (mostly from Ram Commercial via Fiat), but don't expect Ford to sit back either. Ford, Chevy and Ram commercial vehicles are ready to do battle and grow their marketshare.