Ram ProMaster Production Begins In Mexico, Will Commercial Van Buyers Embrace FWD?

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
ram promaster production begins in mexico will commercial van buyers embrace fwd

Around the same time that the one millionth U.S. built Kia rolled off a Georgia assembly line, the first Ram ProMaster was being built in a Mexican Chrysler factory. The ProMaster, a revised Fiat Ducato, will give Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealers a large commercial van to sell for the first time since the Mercedes based Sprinter went away in 2010.

It will be interesting to see how American businesses and tradesmen embrace the ProMaster. Unlike traditional full sized vans, like all of the competing products from Ford, GM and Nissan, the ProMaster has front wheel drive. Commercial and fleet buyers tend to be conservative. Look at how police officers and forces have regarded the FWD Impala, for example, compared to the Crown Vic. The Ram brand is hoping that FWD’s advantages, the lower load floor, greater headroom in back, more cargo space and improved fuel economy will offset concerns about durability as well as handling and traction when loaded. Conventional vans have a forward weight bias so adding cargo in the back improves handling and putting that weight near to the driven rear axle improves traction. Adding cargo to a FWD drive vehicle moves the weight bias away from the driven wheels.

It will take until the fall for the pipeline to fill with the new ProMaster and for the trucks to start arriving at the 800 Chrysler “BusinessLink” dealers that specialize in commercial vehicles.

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18 of 51 comments
  • Mandalorian Mandalorian on Jul 15, 2013

    FWD vans like this work just fine for 99% of the world, I'm sure they will be just fine in the US, despite all the whining.

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    • Jz78817 Jz78817 on Jul 16, 2013

      @RobertRyan Because they figured out that it was dumb to let each region operate as wholly independent entities. Duplication of effort "just because" is a waste.

  • Hummer Hummer on Jul 15, 2013

    If it has good redeemable qualities it may make it. But being FWD, it's only going to take a couple times getting stuck or a wreck before any business that buys them moves on to a traditional van. Not to mention they need to be rock solid reliable, Ford and chevy traditional vans have a very high standard that it must match.

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    • Redliner Redliner on Jul 15, 2013

      @See 7 up "take disciplinary action" I'll be sure to tell my general contractor to give his help a good spanking for overloading the van.

  • Charliej Charliej on Jul 15, 2013

    I don't know how these last, but they are everywhere in Mexico. Bimbo uses these as bread delivery trucks. I am always amazed when I see one of these trucks working it's way down a narrow cobble stone street in a Mexican village. I owned a 2006 Sprinter cab chassis with a fifteen foot box body for five years. I paid for it with the fuel savings from moving from an F350 with box body. As a business owner, all I cared about was the cost of operation. I think that the Fiat van will do will in the US.

    • Mikeg216 Mikeg216 on Jul 16, 2013

      Please do tell the how you paid for an f 350 when diesel costs 50 cents more and the cost for repair is 3x as much as a truck?

  • Redliner Redliner on Jul 15, 2013

    If it was my money and I was willing to take a bet on an unproven vehicle in this segment, it would probably be one of those new Nissan work vans. The truth is, Ford and GM have pretty much perfected this segment. Unless Fiat, er, um I mean RAM can offer huge fuel savings and be as durable and cheap to maintain as it's Detroit rivals, I don't see it getting much traction (Rimshot, lol!)

    • See 1 previous
    • Mikeg216 Mikeg216 on Jul 16, 2013

      @RobertRyan Yes but the Ford an gm are as simple and reliable as an anvil, after the bad taste the Mercedes has left in most people's mouths if they are going to buy a European van it's gonna be a Ford