With Sprinter back under the Mercedes sign, Chrysler Group is looking to Europe and Fiat’s Doblò (above) and larger Ducato to expand back into the commercial van segment, starting next year. The European commercial vans are a far cry from the last Ram-branded body-on-frame vans, as the Doblò is actually based on a 108.5 inch wheelbase version of Fiat’s SCCS platform, a development of GM’s Gamma subcompact platform. As a result, the front-drive Doblò comes with engines ranging from 1.3 to 2.0 liters, and are largely powered by diesel engines. The Doblò is available in everything from a two-door chassis cab pickup, a three-, four- or five-door panel van, or a five-door passenger configuration.Because the new Ram commercial vehicles will be imported starting next year, expect only the van variants to avoid the “chicken tax.“
The larger, rear-drive Ducato offers a dizzying number of body variants, with wheelbases ranging from 118.1 inches to 149.6 inches, and offers only diesel engines in displacements from 2.2 to 3.0 liters with 100-155 HP. Until we get more details, it’s impossible to know which versions of these vehicles will come to the US, and whether the diesel and (for possibly even natural gas) versions will come as well. But the real question remains the same as it was a year ago:
how will these Euro-derived efficiency-oriented urban haulers jive with the Ram brand’s overbearingly bro-magnon branding?