November 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature
Chryslers Ram brand is expanding its BusinessLink and On The Job activities by launching a Commercial Truck division, and has confirmed plans for a full-size van based on a Fiat model from Europe.
A new Chrysler commercial van will be based on the Fiat Ducato.
Positive commercial demand and its relationship with Fiat of Italy are reasons cited in announcements from the companys headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Use of Fiat products has been previously announced and reported.
The new division will focus on commercial truck development, sales and support in a growing market, Ram officials said. It integrates a growing network of Ram BusinessLink dealers focused on the needs of commercial customers.
"Ram Truck is committed to delivering the best value proposition with low total cost of ownership across the entire product line-up," said Fred Diaz, president and CEO, Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, within Chrysler Group LLC.
The product range extends from the Ram Commercial Van, based on the Dodge Caravan minivan, to the diesel-powered Ram 5500 Chassis Cab.
Ram Commercial targets many small, medium and large businesses in a variety of industries, including service and repairs, construction, transportation/shipping, and agriculture, he said.
"There is pent-up demand for new trucks to replace aging commercial fleets and vehicles that are no longer offered in the market," Diaz added. "With the entire auto industry growing by 2 million units year over year in 2012 and further growth expected in 2013, commercial business will be key as it represents about one quarter of the total volume."
A vehicle is designated "commercial" if it meets one of these criteria:
- Titled in a company or corporations name;
- Used for business but titled in an individual's name (sole proprietor);
- Exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight; or
- Used to haul any hazardous material.
New Commercial Van
Timing of the Ram Commercial establishment aligns with the upcoming launch of the new Ram ProMaster, which will go on sale beginning in the third quarter of 2013.
Based on the European Fiat Ducato, the 2014-model ProMaster will be significantly redesigned with familiar Ram Truck styling cues, offering features and powertrains preferred by North American commercial customers, Diaz said. The smaller and lighter Ram C/V will remain in the lineup.
"The Ram ProMaster further strengthens our commercial lineup, offering a full line of work trucks and vans," he said. "As the Ram Truck Brand continues to gain share and grow sales in the retail truck market, we will be just as aggressive in our goal to be a commercial truck market leader.
"Our relationship with Fiat, one of the world's foremost commercial truck makers, has given us access to great products and technology that will resonate with our U.S. and Canadian Ram Truck customers," Diaz added.
The ProMaster will compete primarily against full-size vans from Ford, General Motors and Nissan.