Meet the 2014 Ram ProMaster – America's manliest Fiat yet

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Yesterday, Ram revealed the new Ram ProMaster – a working van, for the working man. Fred Diaz, President and CEO – Ram and Chrysler de Mexico, took the stage at the Chicago Auto Show to share what the new van would offer. If you’re interested in details and want to see photos this post isn’t it.

You can however find a great deal of information and a full photo gallery at Chrysler’s Media Page. (LINK) That’s where I snagged the photo above before a 4-shot Americano and I made it all kinds of badass working-man awesome.

Work van? Sure, I knew one.

I have zero knowledge what distinguishes a good work van from a bad work van, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been personal with one.

I spent my high school summers crawling around in basements and attics installing heating and cooling units. While I don’t remember what model of van we drove, I do recall having to crawl through and reach into piles of merciless sharp objects. You’d think I wrestled baby tigers for a living. What I wouldn’t have given for a van with more space. Then again my horder of a boss wouldn’t let a 3×5 piece of scrap metal go, so I’m sure more cabin space would just mean more stuff.

LutzAsDoTSec

The Europeanization of the American Work Van

The graphic to the right is my perspective on how vans have been engineered in recent years/months.

Like I said earlier, I don’t recall the exact model van we operated out of; I do remember it being American. And even at 5’7” I couldn’t stand up in the damn thing.

This new bevy of Euro-styled work vans appear more efficient and more functional.

This means you can:

…carry more stuff, more intelligently. No more reaching into piles of finger-slicing sheet metal to find tools.

… stand up, if you’re not of NBA stature. Less time hunched over means less strain on your back and neck.

…more easily convert your van to a roadside Santa Monica apartment.

But why bring over the euro van now? I have a few theories.

First and foremost, fuel economy. For any business that operates a fleet of vehicles, fuel is not only one of the highest operational costs, but also one of the least stable. A $.50 rise in gas prices can mean the difference between profits and making payroll.

These new vans are also more aerodynamic (as you can see from my engineering schematic) which means they create less drag, which requires less energy to move and therefore burn less gas.

They are also lighter than their antique brick-shaped predecessors. This weight savings results in better fuel efficiency which is good for business.

Selling feminine-looking vans to a bunch of macho, butt-scratching, blue collar buyers ain’t gonna be easy. But unlike a pair of skinny jeans, which offer zero usefulness, these vans offer tons of practicality and efficiency. It also helps when one of your competitors, Ford Motor Company, decides to up the estrogen on their van design too.

The Fun

[youtube width=”720″ height=”405″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr-7kKMG0lI[/youtube]

No Friday post would be complete without something fun. While looking at the Chrysler Media page last night I noticed they’d posted footage of the ProMaster.

Confession: I’ve had my MacBook for a few months now and it wasn’t until last night I discovered iMovie.

After a bit of Google-ing ‘How to use iMovie’, I managed to hobble together what could easily win an academy award for World’s Worst Homemade Automotive Ad Ever Put On the Internet.

Keep in mind – I made this in one evening having never used this program. Give me six months and I’ll be producing videos that’ll rival some of America’s greatest Twitter-sourced ad spots.

On that note – have a great weekend.

31 Comments

  1. I for one welcome the introduction of the new Citroen Jumper van. Needs moar corrugated siding though.

  2. Just think about how Chrysler could hire Mr.T cheap for this ad. He wouldn't even need to be paid. Just given a free trip to Fiat HQ in Italy.

      1. "Why is it that I always wake up in some other country with a nasty headache?"
        Well B.A. that's because Hannibal has some needs that you can't be awake for. Be glad you are knocked out.

    1. Form follows function I guess- get the headlights way up and away from things that damage them like walls, cars.

    1. Ha! Back in the early nineties on a trip our school principal decided it would be fun to do some rallying in a 2nd gen ducato/boxer full of kids. And it was. There was at least three wheels on the road at all times so it was completely safe.

        1. The regular school bus was fun too, there was one driver who liked to accelerate before speedbumps. If you got a place on the rear seat, several meters behind the rear axle, you'd get a really nice jump from the seat(and occacionally hit your head on the roof).

  3. Once they experience the low load floor and improved ride height:interior space ratio, the pros who need to schlep around lots of big and bulky items are going to switch en masse to the new layouts, drive wheels be damned.
    And having transported my beloved Haflinger from storage yard to working yard using one of Budget's 10-footers, I would have readily paid double to rent one of these euro-vans with its super low load floor height. The most nightmarish portions of the transport were winching the Haffie up a pair of heavy duty ramps into the box and then lowering it back once we had reached our destination. A van like this would be a godsend for myself and those guys who love to haul their motorcycles and/or ATVs to the recreation areas. And yes, this sort of design should show up here in pickup truck format; it sure would make the DIY crowd happy when they want to haul their new fridge, range or sink console back from the store.
    Go, go, City Trucks!

    1. They aren't just city trucks though. I've used a rented Fiat Ducato van, one with the exterior just like the one the US is getting, as a vacation vehicle in the summer of 2008. It was the smallest version, SWB and low roof. This van was converted as a people carrier, with 2 rows of 3 separate comfy seats behind the first row. There were 8 of us on board, all guys in their mid 20s, and we took it on a 4000 km trip for two weeks. A lot of driving on the German Autobahn was included. It had a modest diesel engine with a 6 speed manual. Cruising at 140 km/h was more than comfortable. It thrives on the highway, as long as you can live with modest acceleration.
      Did you mean these pickups?
      <img src="http://ipocars.com/imgs/a/f/d/c/q/fiat__ducato_2_3_jtd_120_pk_long_pick_up_airco_2007_1_lgw.jpg&quot; width="600">

      1. Yes, very much like that. It looks like that could lose an extra foot of height in the back with the substitution of a straight floor instead of what looks like a dump bed mechanism in the photo. If they place it right down on the frame rails and not worry about some slight intrusion of the wheel wells, that could put the bed at a foot above ground level.

    1. Those vans are shorter than a Ford Fiesta hatchback. They are quite fun to drive, but not very comfortable.
      They are probably also too small for American taste. However Fiat also has the Doblo.
      The Doblo is a bit bigger than the Transit Connect or whatever it is called on the other side of the pond.
      Fun fact, General Motors sells the Doblo too, then it's called the Opel Combo!
      <img src="http://www.dallinga.nl/images/Fiatrange2010_640_000.jpg"&gt;

      1. Actually, the next Ram Van we'll be getting here in the States is a Doblo variant to compete against the Transit Connect.
        I will say, though, that micro-van looks like fun. Sounds like a nice alternative to the smaller crossovers we have.

    1. DAJIBAN! I friggin' love that. If I had a ProMaster, I'd track down a set of those wheels and throw them on it.
      BTW, how did Gimp work out for you? I've been thinking of downloading it for fun.

      1. I just use it because it comes preinstalled with Ubuntu. My wife's a little more adept with it, but she prefers Photoshop still.

  4. This is much nicer looking than either the Nisann NV or the Transit Connect. This would make a fantastic platform for a B class RV. Almost a B+. Looking forward to seeing what these get transformed into.

  5. Well I can all asure you that they are the poorest quality ever !! I live in Belgium (Europe) and have 2 of these with a buch of trouble…
    Pro's : Cheap & good looks with many options
    Con's : after 90.000km they tend to brake down a lot and high maintenance.
    I prefer the sprinter, mine now has 180.000km and no problems
    the vanning man from belgium

    1. lyar! Actually the Sprinter had so much bad customer revieuws in the Dutch Autoweek magazine that suddenly all the reviews disappeared. Its most direct competiton, the IvecoDaily, has far more positive customer reviews and even the Fiat Ducato is well sold and considered all over Europe, they even are sold as Peugeot and Citroen models, while Opel (GM) sells the Fiat Doblo as Opel Combo.

    2. What? At my job we only drive the Fiat vans. Especially the Ducato's are heavy used, with heavy loaded roof racks, side racks and often heavy towing. The Ducato's excel in buildquality, we still use Ducato's from 2002 covered around 500.000 km's. A business in the same sector from an other region always used Sprinters and once he was on a visit at our company he complained about high maintenance costs of the Mercedes. He was impressed when my boss told about the maintenance costs of our Fiats and earlier this year his new bought van was no longer a Sprinter but a Ducato instead.

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