Update 1: Ram Trucks to Introduce New Vans

Ram Trucks to Introduce New Vans at NTEA Work Truck Show

Update 1: March 05-2011 9:30 am PT - The vans will not be introduced at next week's NTEA Work Truck Show. Ram has another product announcement planned for Tuesday morning at the commercial vehicle convention.

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Ram Trucks will introduce two new commercial vans, according to a report by the Detroit News.

The full-size Fiat Ducato and smaller Fiat Doblo will be rebadged as Ram models for the 2013 model year, said Ram CEO Fred Diaz.

The Ducato will compete against the Ford E-Series, Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana, Mercedes Sprinter and all-new Nissan NV vans while the Doblo will take on the recently introduced Ford Transit Connect compact cargo carrier.

Both vans will be imported from Europe. Chrysler is in the process of modifying them to meet North American consumer tastes and government regulations.

Overseas, the Ducato is offered with several diesel engine options and the Doblo is available with both gas and diesel powertrains. An all-electric version of the Doblo is also being developed.

[Source: The Detroit News, H/T to PUTC reader Big Bob]

Comments

Going forward, we'll be covering new cargo vans as they're introduced in the U.S.

These vans do not look like they will do very well in North America? Sorry Fiat.

I would rather have a Chevrolet Express, Ford Econoline, or G.M.C. Savana. I like the traditional look of the American van (since the mid-'70s).

Buy American or say Bye to America!
These vans are the future of America, Econoline will be replaced by transit, Fiat will be sold as Ram, and GM vans will most likely get rebaged Opel Movano.

I agree that I prefer the styling of traditional U.S. vans over European vans, however...when it really comes down to it....they're work vans. Styling really isn't quite as important as other features such as utility and fuel economy, where these newer vans really excel.

Hopefully they'll bring over a diesel version of the Doblo with a 6-spd automatic transmission. That's the one thing I really didn't like about the Transit Connect....the 4 cyl gas engine/4-spd auto combo was ridiculously outdated from the get-go. I mean, the Ranger has had the same 4-cyl/5-spd manual combo forever, and it gets better fuel economy than the Transit Connect.......with more HP/TQ too!

People said the Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter wouldn't do well here either, but it has been well received. With that said, the Ducato has a face that even a mother couln't love. Someone photoshopped a Dodge grill on one over here...

http://custombodykits.blogspot.com/2010/12/dodge-tradesman-to-study-us-version-of.html

I have to agree and disagree with paul. 1st and foremost it's a work vehicle. It has to carry my stuff to and from the job site. that could be my plumbing stuff, carpentry tools, mail, packages, or flowers. I need it to be reliable. I can't have the thing broke down, and i don't want to spend a fortune maintaining or fueling it.
That said. It represents my business. so it can't look like a rolling sneeze either. I fact a custom paint job to addvertise my business is likely. Looking at them... I like it. hopefully they will have the option to have sliding doors on both sides. Or not my choice. That's what we REALLY want, choices.

Based on the last time Fiat came to North America these vans may only be able to work during the summer months or longer in the deep south, but will rust out within 3 years.

While the sprinter was originally well recieved, it is being phased out here in New England. The European designs do not hold up against winter as well as the American made models. 10 year old Econolines with little to no rust and then a 3 year old Sprinter with rust around the fuel fill and door handles, areas where there is a penetration through the metal.

And before you get into washing or not, the two examples come from the same small boiler company and drive the same routes and get the same treatment and service. I've seen many other versions of the sprinter in the same state of rust.

Hopefully when the transit comes over, Ford will actually spend some time with the conversion and make it for american markets, not just rebadge.

my feeling in dodge is dead all of Chrysler in fact. everything is being replaced the fiat. Ford is ok most of there vehicles are trying to look unamerican but they are still ford vehicles just being imported from other country's. Gm is the best at least the are redesigning there vehicles they import. If they bring the open van its still a gm vehicle its no different than buying a sierra. heck my silverado was built in canada who knows where the parts come from. but the bottom line is chevrolet is an american company and I love them.

Ford is an American company ALSO! Chrysler is still (half) American too.

This is a matter of my "reasonable" opinion:

I appreciate many European vehicles. The performance vehicles mostly. The basic, no frills, vehicles from Europe and Asia I really can not get used to the styling.

I like how American vehicles have always had a different look about them compared to vehicles from other markets. It is going to be sad when American vehicles start looking more like import vehicles. We will end up with bland boring people movers with all of this "globalization". I do hope that I am wrong.

Personally, I think Ford really should be selling the Transit here. But I also see the need for a heavy duty one to replace the E-150, built on the F-150 platform, using the EcoBoost and 4.4L V8 diesel. They could call it the Transit 150 or something, and still have the regular Transit and Transit Connect. Choices are good, though they need to make that Fiat van less Fiat-styled and make it more Dodge/Ram (tough).

Well if it's not the Fiat Vans, then i'm betting Ram will introduce the Sportsman, or new engine options for the Ram 1500 which could be the new Pentastar V6, or the Cummins V8.

I hope they use better rear door hardware and paint then Dodge used with Sprinter. I've seen many of these only couple years old with rust showing on the rear doors & hinges.

"If they bring the open van its still a gm vehicle its no different than buying a sierra"
think again! Opel vans currently have fiat engines in them, and as of next year they will all be entirely manufactured by FIAT. Oh, and as far as I know it snows in Europe as well...

Finally some nice, fresh, Italian design. What's so genius to throw a square piece of plastic chrome on the front of the hood ? I always throw up, when I see a car like that in my mirror behind me.
It just fakes, how strong and heavy duty it is, but when you pull it up to open, there is one foot empty space to simulate deformation zone and big mess of cables and hoses going across randomly. It looks like 90 years old men on life support bed. It doesn't look like a car from 21 century.
Chrysler group with Fiat is the only one to bring a new fresh style and hopefully light duty diesels at this market.
Fingers crossed for my new Ram 1500 with VM Motori A630 DOHC diesel.

The Fiat actually looks better in the metal, than in photographs. They are actually SMALLER than the Sprinter and are FWD. IVECO the other division of Fiat , has the Sprinter compatible" Daily"van which is RWD.
The Ducato and the IVECO are used a lot more than the Sprinter as Motorhomes in Europe and elsewhere.
A stretched Ducato based Motorhome in Europe.
http://europeanmotornews.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/200809-a-cat-.jpg
There is also a 4X4 version of the Ducato as well.
http://www.fiat.co.nz/default.aspx?MenuId=125
The IVECO Daily Cab Chassis variant having a 4X4 Off Road model, with a 7000lb payload.
http://web.iveco.com/uk/Products/Pages/ecodaily_4x4_features_and_benefits.aspx The Doblo is similar to a lot of other small minivans, produced by Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, VW, Ford etc.
VW Caddy
http://www.tfsvehicleleasing.co.uk/live/variants/1882b.jpg

Sprinters rust. They don't salt-cure the roads in Europe like they do here. Fiat/Ram will need to address that, but the recent Ram trucks are no better- look at the rear fenders...
Ty- I know it's perhaps even funnier to look at, but the Nissan will offer free vinyl wraps.
Alex- the Transit has 1-ton models. There are also RWD versions and DRWs. Equipped with the EB V6 or the 5cyl diesel, these will pull anything that's likely to be behind a van.
The newest vans may lok funny, but they're built to work- The Ducato has a very low step-in height, making it great for delivery. I think their biggest challenge will be to get the transmission right- MT just won't fly.

@Mrknowitall they do salt the roads in many parts of Europe.

http://www.saltinstitute.org/Uses-benefits/Winter-road-safety

"To maintain traffic safety and mobility during snow and ice emergencies, highway operations agencies use rock salt, solar salt and to some degree, evaporated salt, mostly in Europe. That’s been true since the 1940s in snowbelt regions worldwide. Development of the new technique of preventive anti-icing has brought new focus on using salt to combat winter ice storms on roads in what has been considered the sunbelt"

@Mrknowitall a Ford Transit pulling a 28.5 ft 5th Wheel.
http://d454457.u23.fasthit.net/5th_wheelers/Showroom_Model/8.5m28_SlideOut_Layout_Show_Model_037/page_images/8.5m28_Slideout_scene_TransitHitched_SML_3232.jpg

Hideous, Absolutly a rolling turd in the style department. BUT, It is a Cargo Van, no one is going to be buying these to make any kind of statement so how it looks is really not important, ''as its already been stated''.

Once upon a time, Vans were the ''cool'' thing to drive and that's were many of the remaining Full-Size vans on the market today derive their styling from, The Ford E-Series and the Chevrolet Express take design cue's from a different time. But in this day and age, people who want to make some kind of statement drive Sports Cars, or Pickups, so a physically attractive Van is not imporatant.

@Buy American or say Bye to America!

I agree with you. I personally much perfer the traditional style of American Vans. In my personal thoughts these Euro styled vans are complete eye sores but as stated in my above comment, Van's are not about style anymore. Style belongs to Sports Cars and Pickups.

@Robert Ryan- I'm well aware that they do in fact, use salt to de-ice roads on the Continent. There's a huge difference between how they salt in, say Germany, compared to here, in the Rust belt of America. Salt use here is simply excessive, causing rust.

Until FIAT came along, Chrysler was still the most North American company of the big three and may still be. GM and FORD are more global than Chrysler. GM built and sold more vehicles in Asia last year than in the states. FORD is a player in every corner of the world. Chrysler is only big in North America and not that big.

Interesting, very interesting. I had a hunch that Ram would be introducing these vans at the NTEA show. If that is going to happen at a later date - I'll bet they will unveil some rebadged medium duty Iveco trucks. The other hunch is a baby diesel.
It is good to see some competition in the neglected van ranks.
A diesel would help sales immensely.

Exerpt "Both vans will be imported from Europe."

I bet they will get around the Chicken Tax by doing what Ford does with the Transit Connect - import the passenger version which counts as a passenger car then gut it out converting it to a work van.

Good job to Mike and pickuptrucks.com for covering big vans. I appreciate it....

Mike,

Keep up the great work, just where do you find this stuff? I can't wait till you do a shoot-out/comparison of all the new cargo/work vans to hit the market!

T-Bone

If you see those vans down by the river hide your daughter .

@Lou,
They will have to construct a Conventional body for the IVECO MDT, not that cheap. Currently IVECO has the Eurocargo and a lighter version on sale in Europe. The engine is a 5.9 litre diesel, the Tector. If the size sounds familar , it is not a co-incidence as Cummins and Fiat jointly designed both engines sometime ago.
The Eurocargo, comes in a F550 and a F750 sizes. Maximum payload 20tonne.(44.000lb) As well it has an off road 4X4 version as well 33,000lb GVWR

@ John Cressy,

Yeah,Chrysler is only big in North America and especially in Canada Chrysler rocks !!

Canadian Chrysler sales have a 15 month sales growth ! Sales up solid !

Chrysler is the only manufacturer to have 3 on the top 10 selling list in Canada !

Chrysler is always a solid number 2 or 3 in total sales,behind GM/Ford or above depending on year..Ford moved up last year to take over Chrysler,as Chrysler had low amounts of inventory on its lots,same as the 2011 Chrysler cars are non existant on lots,even in the States,lack of 200's and NO 300's yet !!


Chrysler needs a real van,with the Hemi and Cummins !!

Based on a real Mopar, not like the old Mercedes Sprinter that was a sales flop...the Ford Transit is a major Flop !

The old Dodge B-series van were extrememly good sellers,best sellers from the 70's to the 90's,if they would of added a Diesel ,dually and box truck/cab/chassis in the 90's they would of remained top sellers,they still sold extremely well until cancellation in 2004,they outsold the Sprinter Van 10 times over !!

Look at the sales of the Ford Econoline,solid sales,decent looking/performing van ,if Ford uses a Sprinter type replacement ,sales will go to GM 10 fold !!

Remember van conversions are still strong,R.V's conversions,15 passenger vans and even people who use them for work,dont want a 20 second 0-60 mph as the Sprinter is,they want a good performing,good looking van that works for them..Ever,sit in a Sprinter or Transit..after 2 minutes your back aches,and you cannot stand the uncomfortable or uglyness any longer !!

@xs29L "...the Ford Transit is a major Flop !"

From Wiki... "The Transit has been the best-selling light commercial vehicle in Europe for 40 years"

Yup, sounds like a real flop to me!

@xs29L "Chrysler is the only manufacturer to have 3 on the top 10 selling list in Canada !"

According to Msn.ca Autos... Ford, Gm and Chrysler each have two vehicles in the Top Ten for 2010 in Canada.... F Series first and Ford Escape seventh... GMC Sierra sixth and Chevrolet Silverado eighth... Dodge Caravan third and Ram fourth. Honda Civic second, Mazda3 fifth, Toyota Corolla ninth and Hyundai Sante Fe tenth.

http://autos.ca.msn.com/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=27154966

Canada salts the hell out of the roads and I don't work out of one but I stand by a co-workers '05 sprinter that it travels 75 miles a day on crap/salty roads in the winter and it isn't rusty!!

@xs29L and Greg B

In 2010 (data ending in May), Ford sold 8,879 Transit Connects. Over the same time period, they sold 45,516 E-series vans. It's worth mentioning that the Transit Connect actually outsold the Sprinter van for the same time period.

For the most part, the Transit Connect is doing ok in North America. It's not breaking any sales records, but it isn't a total flop either. Personally, I think it would be doing better if they offered a diesel and 6-spd automatic trans. With those improvements it would get better fuel economy and you wouldn't have to wind the hell out of the engine to go anywhere like you do now.

@ Paul

Do not confuse the Transit Connect with the full size Transit. Two completely different vehicles.

FORD TRANSIT:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Transit_front_20071124.jpg

___________________

FORD TRANSIT CONNECT:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Transit_Connect_--_08-25-2009.jpg

I understand the difference. the original comment was referring to the Transit Connect.

"According to Msn.ca Autos... Ford, Gm and Chrysler each have two vehicles in the Top Ten for 2010 in Canada.... F Series first and Ford Escape seventh... GMC Sierra sixth and Chevrolet Silverado eighth... Dodge Caravan third and Ram fourth. Honda Civic second, Mazda3 fifth, Toyota Corolla ninth and Hyundai Sante Fe tenth."

Wow! Maybe I need to move out of the U.S.A.; where Americans do not support American manufacturing and companies, and move to Canada; where they appreciate and support America?

Wake up America (U.S.A.)! Canadians still believe in the U.S./America! Why do not people from the U.S.?

These Vans with sliding doors are better than hinged doors in Ford and GM vans. And above all, Vans with more cargo capacity is better than Pickups.

A small van like Transit Connect has as much cargo capacity as F150 and with V4 engine offers much better mileage than F150.

And Chevy sold only 4000 Express Vans and the chance of increasing sales is very high as more Vans are coming up.

Nissan NV is another new entrant. Infact, HHR Panel model is also like a Micro van with 2 seats and plenty of space behind.

@Buy American or say Bye to America!
If you are a Canadian or a resident of Canada - Every vehicle is an import.
Every vehicle sold has a head office in a foreign country.
Profits therefore leave Canada to a foreign country.
There are NO Canadian owned auto companies (unless you consider Bombardier).
Ford, GMC, and Chrysler is just as foreign to Canada as Toyota, Mazda, Honda or Hyundai.
Moving to Canada might be good for you.
I have no regrets chosing to work in the Canadian public health care system as opposed to the American "For profit" system (even though I could make much more money in the US system).

Transit Connect sales were 2,152 (up 61 percent).

My Father-in law has had 2 Sprinters for his business. While not perfect, they have far exceeded his expectations in reliability, cargo capacity, and economy. He had full size vans from the Big 3 prior, and he was constantly replacing trannys, differentials, et al due to the loads he was carrying (despite being well under GVWC and proper preventative maintenance).

I did not know of the Sprinter's rust problems in the Northeast. So far, no problems with his Sprinters right now. I do like the Transit and think it will definitely fill a niche. I would like to see more modern tranny in it, but Ford probably kept that combination due to its simplicity and proven record.

Nothing wrong with the look of these vans. They are reasonably aerodynamic and have some styles as versus being American bread-box like. I don't understand American preference for American this and that - if that fallacy held true Toyota wouldn't be the #1 auto company in the world. Tradition has its place but its often misplaced...

@ Lou

There are 14 or so vehicle assembly plants in Canada, and around 29 different models.......so NO not every vehicle in Canada is an import!

@Wayne - I agree 100%.
I was trying to make a point.
There are many guys that will argue that any vehicle with a foreign head office or foreign name plate is an import.
Try telling some of the guys on this site that a Toyota made on USA soil, using USA workers, and using USA parts is not an import and you'll get crapped on real hard. The same guys will argue that a Mexican made Ram is not an import.
These vans will be imports.
It will be interesting to see how the "Chicken tax" is avoided.

Like you mentioned earlier, i'm sure they'll follow Ford's lead and import the passenger version here and then gut them. As long as it's cost effective. If sales are good, then they can look at building them here.

Never mind an ugly stick. The whole tree fell on these two junks! I hate global marketing.

This is great news. I'm tired of the space inefficient (curved sided) U.S. vans. These will make a killing if they bring over the diesel engine w/ manual trans. I was really hoping for the Iveco Daily van though. W/ the 4x4 version, it'd make a killing in the camper van market.

Lou-

As you state; Every vehicle in Canada is an import.

It depends on how you look at it I guess? At least Canadians are more apt to buy from North American corporations/manufacturing (Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, and Central America) rather than Asian or European!

The Ducato is rated at 4005 kg/8811 lb GVWR and 1959 kg/4310 lb max payload. That's 3/4-ton van territory (E250, Express/Savana 2500). If Chrysler can keep the base prices competitive, this will get noticed.

One of the big benefits of the Ducato's front-wheel-drive configuration is the notably lower load floor. Compared to a Ford E250, the Ducato's floor is 9-10 inches lower in height, depending on body length. This will be a big plus for buyers who haul things that need to be removed via dolly on ramps as much as those who need to lift/carry items. It will also help step-in height for buyers looking for shuttle vans (car/van pool, , hotel/office, senior citizen centers).

The Sprinter proved that you don't need a big-block gas engine to do work... that's probably more to move the van than the cargo. And with fuel economy standards coming for over-8500 GVWR trucks, a lighter weight heavy duty van is what manufacturers will need to offer going forward.

- E250 extended length with 4.6L V8: 8900 GVWR - 3470 payload = 5430 curb weight
- Ducato extended with 3.0L I4 diesel: 8811 GVWR - 4310 payload = 4500 curb weight

That's roughly 900 pounds moved from truck weight to payload.



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