Chrysler is dropping half a billion dollars into an expansion of one of its North American plants, Automotive News [sub] reports. This is where Chrysler will produce (to what degree remains open) its Fiat Ducato van, which will be sold as a Chrysler Ram Van.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler, told reporters in Detroit that this plant will be “the center for production of light-commercial vehicles in North America for us.” Red-white-and-blue blooded flag-wavers may object to the location of the plant. It is about 180 miles southwest of Laredo, Texas. In Saltillo, Mexico.
The Ducato sells quite well in Europe, and is especially loved in the camper conversion crowd. Two out of three camper vans in Europe are revamped Ducatos. Fiat sells around half a million commercial vehicles each year world-wide. Just about everywhere, except in America.
In the U.S. , Ford alone sells more than 100,000 units of its Econoline and Transit Connect vans. Chrysler has been van-less since Daimler kept the Sprinter after the divorce. Unless you count the commercialized Dodge Grand Caravan, that is. The Ram C/V sold a breathtaking 691 units in the U.S. in 2011.
Fiat had said they are looking into bringing the smaller Fiat Doblo and the larger Fiat Daily to the U.S. North America. Guess where those will go.
Come to think of it: Ram Van.
Has a nice ring to it. Could be popular amongst the camper conversion crowd.