There's a lot of buzz about what Ram truck might or might not do with the resources of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Clearly, the partnership is going to work pretty well in the case of the full-size commercial van, the ProMaster, but could it also work just as well with a smaller more fuel-efficient car-based pickup truck? Here's what we've just heard from our spy shooters who are out on the road:
"FiatChrysler engineers in the U.S. are testing this heavily clad prototype that appears to be a new entry-level truck based on the foreign-market Fiat Strada pickup.
"The massively camouflaged test vehicle is a seriously over-the-top effort to hide the body style that lies underneath. The makeup of the prototype has definite truck overtones, namely around the wheel arches, a classically truckish rear bumper hiding under the camo-covering and exposed suspension bits that clearly exhibit the rugged simplicity of a truck.
"The prototype's headlights are carefully camouflaged to hide their overall shape, but the units appear to be dead ringers for the headlights found on the Fiat Strada pickup. It may be that Fiat Chrysler plans to take an approach similar to what the firm has taken with the Ram ProMaster vans — by simply rebranding a Fiat Strada with a Ram grille and mildly revised front fascia.
"This prototype, however, looks like it may have more adaptations in store for the North American market. This prototype looks to be fitted with a longer wheelbase and a more generous bed when compared to even the largest existing Strada model — the Strada Adventure, which makes due with a two-door, four-seat configuration. The prototype pictured here suggests that it has four conventional doors to go with its larger dimensions. Something as small as the Fiat Strada would likely be too much of a shock for American truckbuyers, so it appears that product planners are resizing it accordingly.
"The prototype caught here — testing in Auburn Hills, Mich., — was undoubtedly diesel powered, judging by its engine note. It was also definitely fitted with a manual transmission. Judging from the way this prototype went about its business, it certainly seems that this U.S.-spec Strada spinoff is embracing the simple, entry-level ethos of its Italian platform donor. And if done right, it might be just what some buyers are looking for."
KGP Photography images