Fiat Doblo Is Coming to North America

By Mark Williams

In its continued march to fill every commercial truck niche in North America, Fiat on Monday announced an agreement with its Turkish partner TOFAS to produce a version of the Doblo cargo van for the U.S. and Canadian markets. 

The Doblo is a midsize cargo van that will be branded a Ram truck, and it will slot above the newly arriving Ram C/V and below a larger mid- to full-size transport van (probably the Iveco). Current Doblo models abroad can be ordered with two, three, four or five doors, with rear sliding doors.

No announcement has been made about U.S. powertrains, but most Doblos overseas use various four-cylinder engines, including several turbo-diesel and other turbogas options. Compressed natural gas, full electric and electric hybrid powertrains also are available.

The plant in Bursa, Turkey, is the largest automotive plant in the country, and $160 million will be invested into the plant’s production line to make the vehicles ready for North America.

Expect the Doblo to go head to head with the Ford Transit Connect and to offer several passenger packages — called Leisure Activity Vehicles — in addition to the modular ordering strategy of a typical commercial vehicle. Pricing has not been announced. The Ram-branded Doblo is expected to arrive in early 2013.


Can they possibly make that thing anymore hideous?

Is the U.S.A. ready to embrace the "weird looking" European/Asian styling designs? I think not? I know I would never put in my driveway. Maybe in the garage and only bring it out at night when my neighbors are asleep. Time will tell.

They should sell 2 or 3 dozen. No problem.

If they put it into a taxi service to prove reliability, it might have a chance. But America is leery of "Fix It Again Tony".

first one of these i see i think im gonna plow into it to make it look better haha

And I thought the Nissan NV was ugly...

Instead of giving the American designers the cash to create their own products, at Chrysler, Fiat thinks that the U.S. is ready for these awkward looking contraptions that are right at home in places like Bangladesh or Istanbul. Fiat has a tough road ahead of them in the U.S. market. Daimler-Benz had the smarts to keep the American and European designs separated.

@Buy American - get used to it.
Part of Fiat's purchace agreement was to bring many of its fuel efficient Euro vehicles and drivetrains to the North American market.

Even Ford's goal is "global" products. I read that Ford's goal is to pare down from 100 world wide name plates down to 25. They also plan on going from 60/40 trucks/cars mix to 40/60 mix.

I'm not a fan of the Doblo's looks, but if they can sell it with a 4 cylinder diesel engine - looks won't matter.

The grill and front facia is a Euro look that we see on the new Ford cars, and many other new vehicles. Just picture it with the Ram "corporate" grill.

I suspect they will take a page out of Ford's playbook and skirt the chicken tax by importing it as a passenger van then gut it out for commercial use.

"...I'm not a fan of the Doblo's looks, but if they can sell it with a 4 cylinder diesel engine - looks won't matter...." -Lou

That was not the case with the Mahindra. Sure, a couple- hundred admitted that they would buy one. The majority of people would NOT buy it though based off of the "homely" looks. You know, one of those looks that only a mother could love.

@Buy American - good point. Mahindra's North American plan was dead in the water even before any of their creatures hit the road.
I'd trust a Fiat product before an Indian one. I hope they would redesign the nose on this thing.
Ram/Fiat is the most likely company to release a diesel engined truck/van. Nissan is the next likely.
I hope someone takes the plunge. I'd much rather fork out the extra cash for a fuel efficient diesel than for a hybrid.

I think it actually looks pretty cool in a cargo version. Cant see this slotting above the CV, but we could all quickly pretend the CV never happened. Payload on these is 2200lbs, btw. I think these will make great little service trucks, as long as they're priced right- on the continent they're a good bit cheaper than the Transit Connect.

looks like some kia soul or nissan jukebox or something.

Just wierd looking. might sell as many as the ridgeline which btw is not a truck.

The problem with is it looks like it can't decide if it wants to be a bug or a box. At least with the Transit, its a box all the way. Whether or not we think we will like these new deigns, we will see a lot of them. Ford is selling a lot of Transits now as taxi's. That alone is a huge marketing win by getting a vehicle in use, right in the consumer's face.

This thing looks like a praying mantis. And the Fiat 500 looks like a grasshopper. The Italian dudes are into buggy designs :D

Run out of erasers, Fiat?

Wow, that's a funky spanky gay van... Probably the first female truck from Dodge/Ram! It's like body lotion for men...

At least it should be aerodynamic and have a modern power train (looking right at you Ford with the pathetic old 4 banger and 4 speed in the Transit Connect)

I be the front end is changed a whole lot to make it more appealing to the US market but the funky windows will stay (will likely improve visibility which IMO is a smart move)

I suspect these will accommodate a forklift loaded pallet unlike the Caravan cargo van (per another poster in that article). Still the one I really want to see is the Iveco Daily or the Ducato since those will replace the Sprinter in the lineup. Hopefully the price is a little more inline than the Sprinter was.

Good gawd gurdy, that's an all new form of ugly.

is not bad like the ford lunch box,

@mhowarth. The IVECO Daily and the Ducato will easily do the same job as the Sprinter. I wonder if FIAT is going to bring over their deriatives as well for the US?
@ Ken and @ Lou Their are much better looking minivans in Europe. That Doblo is ugly and they do not sell it hee.

These Vans have lot more interior space than Pickups. Ford Transit, Nissan NV and now Ram Doblo.

Introduce the CNG version also.

Made in Turkey like the Ford Transit. If that little truck is filling a void, why not a Turkish FIAT?
I used to joke with my friends when I had a K-Car. I would say I went to bed owning a Chrysler and woke up owning a Mercedes. It may be said now that I went to bed owning a Dodge and woke up owning a Ferrari!

Ford has the odd looking Turkish made Ford Transit,this is to compete with that...

they will have the cargo type only for RAM and with Dodge styling tweeks.....look at Ford,the Focus,Transit is Euro trash,as is GM did it for years with The GTO that was an Australlian car,and its Caddy is based on a Opel !!!

Does this thing have a Ferrari engine,or a Mazaratti engine !!!

Nothing worse than the Furd Transhit !!

I believe the good people at Ram will do agood job of cleaing this ugly van? up. Might even make it look good. We are not talkin about toyota hear folks!

And to think someone was paid to design that . And someone was paid more to approve the design . Good thing I ate dinner a few hours ago I felt a little upchuck . Maybe it has a good platform to work from but please make it pretty .

Yet another proud American vehicle made in Turkey (Ford Transit). I am sure most of the Ram fans on here will buy one to help suppor this great American vehicle. Better to do that than buy one of them furrin' 'Yotas made in Texas.

Guts, Glory, Doblo... .

Im not sure... I dont quite... I... what? Jesus, Id feel sorry for the transformer that turns into that thing.

It can't possibly be worse to drive than an E-150, so I'm all for it.

There's a reason why they make them in Turkey. You could not make the Transit or the Doblo in the US for the same money.

Both of them, or their corporate siblings, sell well in Europe. The last time I was in Italy, we rented something similar to the Doblo, outfitted with three rows of seats and windows.

Underpowered as all hell and hideous to look at, for sure, but exceptionally functional when driving through cobblestone-lined streets too narrow for an E-350, T&C minivan or VW Vanagon.

If I had to choose from a Turkey built (Ram) Doblo or a U.S.A. built Tundra...I would just keep what I already had. Just keep fixing up my (North) American built Ram 2500 until the last lug-nut fell off.

I think nobody bought this car because of it´s look.

@ DeBinder Dundet you see similar to the Doblo, in the very narrow(Lucky to get three people walking abreast) Medieval Cities of Europe, Italy in particular.

If you think this version is ugly you should look at the previous one from Fiat -uuuugggllllyyyy! Note that GM are alsot to sell the Doblo under the Vauxhall and Opel brands in Europe

@Canadian Dodge RAM Owner- The Ford Transit has been one of top vans, world wide, for practically ever.
@Schilder- and you would be wrong, as it sells quite well.
@Robert Ryan- yes, the Ducato for sure. Since Iveco is now seperate from Fiat, the Daily is not as certain. Ford will be bringing the big Transit, as well, though its unclear if bot FWD and RWD models are coming. GM has nothing...

I see great potential for this type of vehicle for inner-city use in America. The Ford Transit Connect is just now coming into taxi-fleet service.

While it is no Crown Vic, Windstar or Freestyle, I think the FTC will be a great success over time. But there is always room for more competition, like from Nissan and from the Doblo. Let the market decide which is the greater value.

However, I cannot see any in this class of vehicle become the great commuter vehicles that airport shuttles use, like the E350, T&C, Sprint 3500, and the multitude of purpose-built bus-like transports.

The old/new London Taxi has them all beat. It is like the old Checkers was. Even dolled up the old Checkers was nasty to look at, but it had its fans. So will the Doblo and the FTC.

Both Ford and Fiat are trying to capitalize on the fact that their offerings in this class are a success outside the US. By bringing them to the US they are expanding their base and market. It can only mean more sales for them.

I suspect that the Domestics (does that term still apply to (Fiat/Ram ?) will go to a strategy of gloabal platforms. Shared R&D costs will maximize profits.
Part of Fiat's purchase agreement was that it brought fuel efficient drivetrains and vehicles to NA while giving Chrysler access to Fiat's global markets. I'm not sure what Chrysler could successfully sell abroad ? Jeep? Viper? SUV's?
I bet we will see many rebadged and slightly reskinned (is that a word?) Fiat products in the next few years.
Europe has been saddled with high fuel prices much longer than us, therefore they have a head start in th MPG game. It would be nice to see the European penchant for manual gear boxes work its way here. They are 85% manual, and we are 85% auto.
I've been seeing more Fiat 500's around that are being sold through Chrysler. I thought they were ugly at first but are cute in a pug dog face meet baseball bat kind of way;)

Taking in Chrysler as a subsidiary division, Fiat gained ready and easy access to the US market.

Once upon a time Fiat's products were the pits in the US AND abroad and the butt of 'Tony' jokes, as in "Fix It Again Tony". Anyone who ever owned a 128 will probably still have nightmares, not to mention an X/19 apoplexy.

Now with Chrysler as a subsidiary Fiat can target specific demographics and market segments, i.e. the 500 for the inner cities in the US, and maybe a new Chrysler 8-speed for its fine stable of exotic cars. Maybe even the Doblo as a taxi?

Although I would not buy one for myself, I see great potential in a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a Ferrari V8 instead of that antique push-rod 5.8 Hemi.

If you've ever driven or even heard a 40-valve Ferrari V8, you know what I'm talking about. A 300 with that V8 would smoke any Hemi and last longer as well.

The Chrysler V8s should be relegated to the Dodge trucks, while the modern Fiat engines should be incorporated throughout the Chrysler product line.

The Ferrari V12 engine is without a doubt the finest engine in the world. Having that engine as an option would certainly get me to consider a Chrysler product in the future. There's just something about that unmistakable sound and never-ending power curve of a Ferrari V12.

@DeBinder Dundett - maybe Fiat can help Dodge build a Viper that isn't a snarling, unpredictable monster. Both Top Gear UK and USA panned the Viper for being dangerous once traction was lost.

The word for Chrysler's global product is "Jeep". The fact is unlike other US NA manufacturers, they sell their NA vehicles globally with RHD and diesels. Jeeps(Grand Cherokee) is used as a "Mums Taxi" and "Caravan puller" here and in Europe. The CRD diesel is the preferred choice as it is rated the same as the perfomance Hemi's as far as towing goes. We have just got the SRT8. Most comments here have been favourable as regards the improved build quality since Fiat took over. Mechanical reliability, well that maybe another matter.
The Viper , did not really rate. Someone tried importing some several years ago, but no-one was really interested in them.

Say what you will about the Transit Connect but I am seeing them all over the place now... if that will sell then this will to if its priced right and gets good MPG's.

Lou, when my wife and I were both on active duty and stationed in Holland during the 1970s I had a chance to go to Marinello while we were on a road trip on our motorcycles with a group of GIs.

It was impressive to see the finished products being tested on the adjacent race track prior to delivery. We tried to get in to the plant to see actual assembly and manufacturing but the reception area was as close as we could get. They served excellent coffee there, too.

They had plenty of pictures on the wall of the reception area, and exploded-view details of the engines and transmissions, all the while we were being serenaded by the cars being track-tested outside. Perfect setting.

So, yes, I think that Fiat and its subsidiaries can do a lot for the Chrysler and Dodge cars. After all, didn't VW supply engines for the K-cars at one time? Why not some of Fiat's excellent engines in Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles?

Like I said, when it comes to trucks the old pushrod Hemis are fine. The Viper is a niche-market car, like the Prowler was. The aluminum V10 in the Viper is a lot lighter than the cast-iron monstrosity I had in my 94 RAM2500.

But an all-aluminum 60-valve Ferrari V12 in a Viper? You betcha! That would ring someone's dinner bell.

Funny how a $150,000.00 -plus Ferrari, with 40-valve V8 or even a 60-valve V12, can not out perform a $100,000.00 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 with only a 16-valve V8. Come to think of it, a $100,000.00 Ford G.T. with even spanked the mighty Ferrari. Sound, which is subjective, is not everything. I personally prefer the sound of a high-horsepower pushrod V8 over the sound of an pneumatic; impact gun or sander. Do not under estimate American technology.

@Buy American - A Lancer Evo will beat a Lamborgini Murcellago on a tight track. I am a big fan of Top Gear UK and the Corvette is mid pack on their score board. The Ford GT is an awesome car, but Ford doesn't make it any more.
Park a Ferrari and a high end Corvette at oppposite ends of a parking lot.
Guess which one will gather a crowd?
That is what you are paying for - hand built exclusivity.
The only Corevette that would stand a chance in that regard would be a perfectly restored '63 split window Vette with a 427.

@MrKnowitall. It looks like the Ducato will be coming to the US

@MrKnowitall Looks like the Ducato will be coming to the US.

There is a lot to be said for the pushrod V8 engines developed in America. The Cadillac V12 was also a hell of a Tank engine, if anyone cares to read up on automotive history. But no match for the Merlin.

All that's great, but we don't live in the days of the Flathead Ford V8 or the '57 Chevy 283 V8 any longer. Things have evolved. Research has shown that the better an engine breathes the better it runs and the more power it develops across the rev band.

There is a reason why the OHC and DOHC designs gained favor in the global auto industry. America was just dead last to put it to good commercial use. They came around, eventually. Remember the Olds DOHC 4-banger? Screamer!

Remember Disc brakes and how America was also last in applying that technology to US cars? The Germans were ahead of us on Catalytic converters too. While we were screwing around with EGR the Germans were using Cats and getting more power and better fuel economy in production cars.

Look at how many foreign advancements have been applied to domestic brand cars over the ensuing years. Remember airbags and seat belts? All of them pioneered by Mercedes-Benz and eventually adopted worldwide by the global auto industry.

How about roll-over cages. Thank Volvo and Saab for those. Not American technology.

How about gas-shocks? First developed by Bilstein and Koni in Germany. How about the Wankel? Not American in application. NSU and Mazda, yeah.

And the FWD transverse system? Developed in Italy by a consortium. Beat out all comers.

America has had its great ideas in the distant past. And for those biased in favor of buying American, go for it. But technology evolves and even America's manufacturers are using foreign technology to improve their products.

That's why the domestic cars are so much better these days than in the past. They applied foreign-developed technology to make them better.

Ask Ford. They lead in domestic engine tech these days. Ever hear of the EB V6? Not a new concept. Just a greatly improved old concept first seen on Porsche Turbo Carrera for PUBLIC application.

And the list goes on.

The world's first automotive electric starter motor: Invented in 1911 by Charles F. Kettering, of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco).

Other great automotive U.S. inventions:

1897: An American invented the muffler and the tapered roller bearing.
1901: The assembly line.
1903: Windshield wipers
1911: Fifth-wheel coupling
1916: Tow truck
1918: Hydraulic brake system
1921: Headrest
1922: Convertible
1930: Car audio
1937: O-ring
1945: Cruise control

Just to name a few. I think that it is safe to say, that foreign cars/companies adopted these U.S. inventions. I stand behind my previous comment -Do not underestimate American technology.

Look at the dates. Ask American technology, "What have you done for me lately?"

@DeBinder Dundett Plus you have a swag of countries , that were not part of the global Automotive landscape in the 1920's to the 1950's, now producing some innovative Automotive products.

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