Chrysler says it made numerous changes to transform the Ducato into the US-friendly Promaster, and the biggest changes were made to the powertrains. Standard equipment on the Promaster 1500 is the widespread 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 rated at 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque paired, which, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, offers a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 11,500 pounds. Other models will get the 3.0-liter diesel inline four-cylinder producing 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, giving this version a GCWR of 12,500 pounds, and this engine is mated to a six-speed automated manual transmission.
Not your typical recipe for commercial vehicles, the Promaster will have a unibody construction with a front-wheel-drive layout, but it will deliver 13 different configurations, including two roof heights, three wheelbases and four body lengths, and the choices of cargo, chassis cab and cutaway body styles. There was no mention of a passenger version of the Promaster, but we could see that coming down the road.
Some of the more unique features that the Promaster will offer include the option of dual sliding side doors, an upfitter wiring junction and the choice of three different floor coverings for cargo models (painted metal, rubber or even wood). Other features that stand out include four-wheel disc brakes with two-piston Brembo calipers at each wheel and front seat options that include swivel and suspension front bucket seats or a two-person passenger bench seat.
The Promaster surely isn't the prettiest van on the market, but in a segment that demands function over form, Ram's new van definitely delivers in this regard. Each of the three available openings into the cargo area are all wide enough to allow a forklift to load and unload pallets easily. The hinged rear doors open up 260 degrees and there are 17 tie down rings built into the floor of the cargo area. In total, the Promaster has a cargo volume of up to 530 cubic feet, which is only outdone by the tallest and longest Mercedes-Benz Sprinter model (at 547 cubic feet). One thing that will be interesting to see is how easy the engine will be to access since there is no "dog house" inside, and the jutting lower grille and short, stubby hood make it look like this van will have a challenging engine bay.
About the only things Chrysler hasn't announced yet are when the Ram Promaster will go on sale and how much it will cost, but unlike the chicken-taxed Sprinter, the Promaster should have a more competitive price point against vans like the Chevrolet Express, Ford E-Series (soon-to-be Transit) and Nissan NV since it is built at the Saltillo Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico – where some Ram 1500 pickups and all Ram Heavy Duty models are made – rather than being imported as the Sprinter is.
New 2014 Ram ProMaster Expands Product Line for Ram Commercial Division
The new 2014 Ram ProMaster is the brand's latest addition to its popular commercial vehicle lineup, and puts Ram Truck back into the expanding, purpose-built, full-size van segment with a number of best-in-class features focused on the commercial customer. The unique van creates additional opportunity in Ram's work truck lineup.
"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 - Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. "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."
Ram Truck is tapping into Fiat Professional – one of the largest producers of commercial vehicles in the entire world, offering more than 110 years of experience. That knowledge will help Ram enter new segments and expand its product line. The new 2014 Ram ProMaster is based on the popular front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, which is the most popular full-size van in Europe. The 2014 Ram ProMaster is the Company's first shared truck collaboration with Fiat Professional.
The Ram ProMaster full-size van is engineered for the North American market and offered with best-in-class attributes. Now in its third generation, with more than 4.5 million sold worldwide, Ram will offer a proven, award-winning workhorse with an incredible combination of durability, value, efficiency, and capability like no other in its class. Additionally, the ProMaster is the first offering in its competitive set to provide both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory.
The 2014 Ram ProMaster offers 13 different configurations:
- ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 118-inch wheelbase low roof
- ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase low roof
- ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase high roof
- ProMaster 2500 Cargo Van 136-inch wheelbase high roof
- ProMaster 2500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof
- ProMaster 3500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof
- ProMaster 3500 Cargo Van 159-inch wheelbase high roof extended body
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 136-inch wheelbase
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 159-inch wheelbase
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab 159-inch wheelbase extended body
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 136-inch wheel base
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 159-inch wheel base
- ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab Cutaway 159-inch wheelbase extended frame
Ram began offering a full-size van in the early 1960s.The segment has since evolved from a standard size van with basic capability and tolerable efficiency to a purpose-built cargo hauler with engineering and execution that combines desirable sizes and configurations.
There are roughly 3.1 million Class 2 vans in U.S. service today, mostly in fleets, and nearly 61 percent are more than 10 years old. Another 32 percent are between 4 and 9 years old. The largest percentage of which is a vehicle that is no longer produced, leaving customers searching for an alternative. Segment volumes are expected to be nearly 400,000 units spanning over the next five years with large vans representing more than 80 percent of Class 1-4 offerings. 2011 Polk sales data shows 60 percent cargo van, 23 percent chassis cab and 17 percent passenger van.
The new 2014 Ram ProMaster offers the most fuel-efficient model in its class and includes best-in-class usability and more cargo capacity than the competition. The new van also offers customers low total cost of ownership with serviceability topping anything in the segment and more proven experience than anything in it class.
Timing of Ram ProMaster launch aligns with the recent announcement of Ram Commercial, a new division of the Ram Truck brand to meet the unique requirements of commercial customers. With the entire auto industry growing by two million units year over year in 2012, and further growth expected in 2013, commercial business is key as it represents about one quarter of the total U.S. sales volume.
Joined by the 2014 Ram C/V, the 2014 Ram ProMaster targets countless businesses in a variety of industries, including service and repairs, construction, transportation/shipping, large-medium-small businesses and agriculture. The economy has incurred pent-up demand to replace aging commercial vans and vehicles that are no longer offered in the market. This has created an opportunity and the ProMaster will be an attractive choice with a variety of capable and efficient models ready for any job.
Top reasons for purchase in the segment:
- Quality, reliability, dependability
- Cargo space and payload
- Total cost of ownership
The ProMaster's competitors are: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Express, GMC Savanna and Nissan NV Cargo.
Start of production for the 2014 Ram ProMaster is scheduled for third quarter of 2013. All configurations will be produced at the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
Ram Commercial lineup
The Ram Truck brand continues to establish its own identity and clearly define its customer. The brand has emerged as a leader by investing in new products, infusing them with durable powertrains, robust chassis, new technology and features that further enhance their capabilities while delivering low total cost of ownership. Commercial truck and van customers have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to work. The Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups; 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs, Ram C/V and Ram ProMaster vans are designed to deliver a total package.
When it comes to capability, the Ram C/V Tradesman out-works competitive vans on a number of fronts by delivering best-in-class payload, cargo space and towing. Equipped with the award-winning Pentastar V-6 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Ram C/V Tradesman also delivers best-in-class horsepower, torque and driving range of up to 500 miles on a single tank of fuel.
Ram Commercial is tapping into Fiat Professional, one of the largest producers of commercial vehicles in the entire world, offering more than 110 years of experience. That knowledge will help Ram enter new segments and expand the product line. Based on the Fiat Ducato, the Ram ProMaster fullsize van will be transformed for the North American market and offered by Ram Commercial with best-in-class attributes. Now in its third generation with more than four million sold worldwide, this van is a proven, award-winning workhorse with titles in efficiency.
For 2013, the Ram 1500 grabs the title of best-in-class fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) for the half-ton segment with a number of exclusive technologies including a new V-6 engine, eight-speed transmission, stop-start system, air suspension and active grille shutters. The Ram 1500 Tradesman commercial workhorse adds more value by giving commercial customers a standard hard working V-8 that tows more than competitors' standard V-6 engines, yet achieves 20 mpg. Tradesman also includes a spray-in bedliner, Class 4 trailer hitch, 4- and 7-pin trailer connectors and offers the innovative RamBox storage system at a discount. By offering a standard V-8 engine, business owners not only benefit from added standard capability but improved resale value.
Ram Heavy Duty
The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty brings increased capability and innovative new features to the heavy-duty segment with an uncompromising attitude that remains the standard for all full-size heavy-duty pickups. Ram Heavy Duty also delivers the performance and amenities customers demand, for example the most off-road capable pickup on the market – the award-winning Ram Power Wagon. Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty Tradesman models are hard-working trucks that business owners can depend on. The Heavy Duty Tradesman models feature a 17,000-lb. Class 5 hitch, 4- and 7-pin trailer connector, cruise control and available class-exclusive RamBox cargo management system. Ram Commercial also offers the only factory-engineered and built CNG (compressed natural gas) powered truck. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup offers cost and emissions benefits, using an abundant, domestically sourced fuel while reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. All Ram Heavy Duty trucks offer the proven Cummins 6.7-liter diesel. Ram 3500 offers a best-in-class 850 lb.-ft. of torque and a 15,000-mile oil change interval delivering an unmatched total cost of ownership advantage. When mated with the available Aisin heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission, Ram 3500 tops the charts with best-in-class towing and payload that far exceeds the competition. The Ram Heavy Duty is the only pickup in the market available with a manual transmission.
Ram Chassis Cab
For 2013 the Ram Truck brand also increases the capabilities of its hardest-working trucks – the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks. Led by the Tradesman trim level, Ram Chassis Cab trucks provide customers with first-time innovations, and features along with new standards of strength, utility and drivability. Building on Ram Chassis Cabs already proven equation of durability, upfitter friendliness, efficiency and best-in-class capabilities, Ram's commercial-grade work trucks are engineered for maximum uptime, low cost of ownership, optimum performance and enhanced best-in-class commercial capability. Owners can proudly display their company logo and rest with the confidence of knowing that it will get the job done day-in and day-out.
Ram Chassis Cab best-in-class features include:
- Best-in-class vehicle system interface module (VSIM) and upfitter-friendly design
- Best-in-class capabilities
- Best-in-class total cost of ownership
- Best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change intervals on Cummins diesel
- Best-in-class powertrain warranty – 5 years/100,000 miles
Ram Truck total cost of ownership (TCO)
Commercial customers in particular face balancing the challenges of opportunity costs, fuel pricing, reduced budgets, new technology and durability. Total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations are helpful in making purchase and operational decisions. Ram Truck offers best-in-class TCO for commercial truck owners. The Ram 1500 offers best-in-class fuel economy of 25 mpg. A standard V-8 engine features best-in-class entry-level capability and impressive resale value, allowing owners to recover more upfront costs. All Cummins diesel-powered Ram trucks feature a 15,000-mile oil change interval, and a best-in-class diesel exhaust brake increases frictional brake life by three times the market average. Ram truck also offers the most upfitter-friendly solutions in the industry, reducing the initial costs for specialty trucks such as crane, rollback or dump bed upfits. Topping it off, Ram offers a best-in-class 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, proof of the quality built into each truck.
Approximate Commercial Business Breakdown
- Service and repairs – 24 percent
- Construction – 19 percent
- Transportation/Shipping – 17 percent
- Large-to-medium businesses – 8 percent
- Small businesses – 8 percent
- Schools organizations and non-profits – 7 percent
- Machinery/Electronic products – 6 percent
- Forestry/Mining/Oil/Gas – 3 percent
- Farming/Agriculture – 2 percent
- Wood/Metal/Stone products – 2 percent
- Food and beverage – 1 percent
- Other – 3 percent
Ram Commercial Marketing
In many cases, the owner is not the operator, which creates a unique sales and marketing dynamic. Ram Commercial offers a complete approach with a company-wide strategy supported by all organizations and a dedicated sales force. Marketing efforts speak directly to commercial buyers both visually and verbally, and improved customer targeting benefits from laser-focused channels, such as tradeshows, commercial websites and trade publications. The new division is supported throughout the entire network including local advocates, operation managers, sales specialists and an extensive dealer network.
About Ram Truck Brand
The Ram Truck brand continues to establish its own identity and clearly define its customer since its launch as a standalone vehicle brand. Creating a distinct brand for Ram trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on how core customers use their trucks and what new features they'd like to see. Whether focusing on a family that uses its half-ton truck day in and day out, a hard-working Ram Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its commercial vehicles every day, Ram has the truck market covered.
The Ram Truck brand has the most innovative lineup of full-size trucks on the market. Ram Truck has emerged as a full-size truck leader by investing substantially in new products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and features that further enhance their capabilities. Truck customers, from half-ton to commercial, have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. Ram trucks are designed to deliver a total package.
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BusinessLink is a free program that connects business owners with a network of Chrysler Group dealers that are specially equipped to work with small businesses. Nationwide, Chrysler Group's 600 BusinessLink dealers offer the convenience of one-stop sales and service essential to help commercial/small businesses stay on the road to profitability. Business owners may access this free membership program with proof of business ownership at any BusinessLink dealer.
Benefits include no dues or fees, specialized in-dealership commercial/small business sales and service personnel, extended service and repair hours, priority next-available-bay service, free shuttle service, 24/7 towing service, free loaners for select vehicles, expertise in commercial financing options and unique business variable incentives.
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About "On The Job"
Chrysler Group's "On The Job" vehicle program provides commercial/small business owners a variety of incentives and discounts to assist them in purchasing, servicing and customizing vehicles to specifically address their unique professional needs. Custom upfit allowances, service contracts, Mopar certificates and cash allowances are just a few of the stackable incentives that business owners can use at any of Chrysler Group's 2,317 dealerships. Business owners may take advantage of these incentives in addition to existing BusinessLink or retail specials. Most Chrysler Group vehicles qualify for On The Job program advantages when the vehicle is purchased for business use.
For On The Job program information, call (877) ONTHEJOB.