Supplier sources said at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the Ram brand will have a commercial van based on the Fiat Ducato large paneled van. The sources added that Chrysler has set a target to produce 30,000 units annually in Mexico. Ram’s heavy-duty pickups are already being built by Chrysler in Saltillo, Mexico.
This van is expected to fill a gap created in Chrysler Group's commercial vehicle business when it halted sales of the Dodge Sprinter vans built by Mercedes-Benz after the break-up of DaimlerChrysler in 2009. David Elshoff, Ram brand spokesman, declined to comment on these reports.
It’s expected that the Ducato-based van will arrive in 2013, says Autonews. It will be the bigger one of the two Fiat-based commercial vans in Ram’s offerings. A memorandum of understanding was signed by Fiat and its Turkish joint venture, Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi, on Sept. 9.
This 7-year deal will supply the Ram brand with 190,000 units of a smaller van based on the Fiat Doblo. This model will rival the Ford Transit Connect, which is also produced in Turkey.
Chrysler Group anticipates that the two vehicles will raise the appeal of the Ram brand among business people. As these two vehicles are in development, Ram has started to build another commercial van, the 2012 Ram Cargo Van.
Its production is at Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant and it will start selling within just a few weeks. The Ram Cargo Van is the replacement of the Dodge Grand Caravan C/V in Chrysler Group's lineup. The Ram Cargo Van is somewhat similar to the Grand Caravan but it is windowless and it has a flat floor and heavy-duty suspension.