The Fiat-Chrysler group product plan presented by CEO Sergio Marchionne on January 30 indicated that Ram would get just one new model in the North American market this year: the ProMaster commercial van.
Ram's new full-size van is based on the Fiat Ducato, though, according to Chrysler, it wasn’t just a simple case of swapping the badges but of reengineering to meet U.S. market demands.
The ProMaster 1500 is offered with two engines: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that puts out 280HP and 260 lb-ft (352 Nm) of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, or a 3.0-liter four-cylinder diesel with 174HP and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque paired to a six-speed automated manual. The gasoline-powered version offers a combined gross weight of 11,500 pounds (5,200 kg) while the diesel is rated at 12,500 pounds (5,700 kg).
It will be available in three wheelbase variants (118, 156 and 159 inches long respectively), with a low or high roof and a standard or extended body or frame for a total of 13 different configurations.
"The Ram Truck brand has the opportunity to work directly with our successful colleagues at Fiat Professional on vehicles we feel will resonate with North American customers", said Fred Diaz, President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, where the new van will be built. "Aligning with the recent launch of our new Ram Commercial division, the 2014 Ram ProMaster offers customers an entirely new full-size van with best-in-class features, quality, durability, capability and low total cost of ownership."
Chrysler didn’t disclose the ProMaster’s pricing or when it will go on sale, but it will certainly be more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter competitive against rivals such as the Ford Transit and Nissan NV.
By Andrew Tsaousis