doblo.jpgby Patrick Rall

    Even though the Chrysler Group is best known for inventing the minivan, the full sized Ram Van was a major player in the delivery and family truckster segment for many moons.  Unfortunately, when Daimler took the reins of Chrysler, they phased out the Ram Van to make room for the Mercedes-based Dodge Sprinter.  The Sprinter soldiered on as the only real option for a full sized cargo hauler, but with the recent news that the Fiat Doblo will be coming to the US in 2013, rumors are popping up that even more Fiat-based Ram vans are on the horizon.

    The Ram Truck brand is already slated to begin offering one van in 2012, with the
    introduction of the Ram C/V – a compact cargo hauler based on the
    popular Chrysler minivans. And now we know that Ram will be rolling out the Doblo for 2013, which will go head to head with
    the popular Ford Transit Connect.

    The Doblo sold in Europe is very similar in size to
    the Transit Connect already sold in the US, so Ram may not have to do
    much to market it in the US.  Something as simple as a light refresh to
    the front end (possibly trying on something with crosshairs) and a name
    that will work more than the “Ram Doblo” would seemingly be all that Ram
    needs to do to take a shot at the segment currently dominated by Ford’s
    award winning Transit Connect.

    Fiat Ducato

    fiat-ducato.jpgRam is also expected to roll out a larger van for the 2013 model year which should be more comparable to the Sprinter and the old school Ram Van. This would be
    a full sized cargo haul based on either the Fiat Ducato or the Iveco
    Daily.  Iveco is a commercial vehicle brand owned by Fiat. Like the
    Ducato, the Daily is offered in many different forms in Europe.  This
    means that either one of these two models, when converted into a US
    market-friendly Ram model, could be offered in more than one form. 
    However, for the time being it appears as though either the Ducato or
    Iveco Daily will step into the Ram Truck brand lineup where the Sprinter
    or Ram Van did in decades past.

    Inveco Daily

    inveco.jpgOne key advantage to all of these European Fiat or Iveco models being
    converted to an American-sold Ram model is that these trucks all have
    drivetrains developed to meet Europe’s stringent economy expectations. 
    They rely primarily on diesel powerplants and even though none of these
    engines are currently used in the US, the growing popularity of diesel
    engines combined with the efficient technology of these modern diesels
    could make these new Ram products very popular for both their
    capabilities and their fuel economy.

    Once these new vehicles hit the US market, the Ram Truck brand will
    have their family of popular pickup trucks, their commercial chassis
    cab models, the Ram C/V, the Ram Transit Connect-fighter and the full
    sized replacement for the Dodge Sprinter.

    What do you think? Are you intrigued by the possibility of a new Ram Van? Voice your opinion here!