Fiat helps Ram enter van fray
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DETROIT -- With a re-engineered light-duty pickup heading to dealerships this fall, the Ram brand team is turning its attention to two new commercial vans.
The vans will be reskinned versions of European Fiat vans and are scheduled to arrive in 2013. They will be assembled in Mexico.
Chrysler Group killed the Dakota in 2011, but don't be surprised if Ram re-enters the small-pickup market in the next few years with a new offering it can sell in both North and South America. Brand chief Fred Diaz said Chrysler continues to consider a "lifestyle truck" in the five-year product plan it presented in November 2009.
1500: Ram's re-engineered 2013 light-duty pickup will have fuel economy of 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway thanks to more than a dozen new powertrain features. Chrysler did so much work on the 2013 pickup that a full redesign, originally scheduled for the 2015 model year, likely will be delayed. But a light-duty diesel variant is being tested for the 2014 model year.
2500/3500: Heavy-duty Ram pickups will get the same fuel-economy improvements as the 1500 when they are updated for the 2014 model year. The big haulers will get Chrysler's TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission.
Small commercial van: Ram is putting a new nose and badge on the European version of the Fiat Doblo in its Saltillo, Mexico, assembly plant to give the brand a competitor to the Ford Transit Connect. It will appear for the 2014 model year. The name has not been revealed.
Rampage: No decision has been made on whether Chrysler will build a compact pickup to compete with the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, Diaz said.
Ram C/V: Ram's commercial version of Chrysler's minivan will fade into the sunset as a new line of Fiat vans coming to North America arrives for the 2014 model year.
Large commercial van: Fiat also is sending its full-sized front-wheel-drive European commercial van, the Ducato, to North America where it will get a new nose, nameplate and Ram badge. The Ducato will compete with such vans as the new full-sized Ford Transit van, or T series; the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter; and the Chevrolet Express.
The 2014 model will be assembled in Saltillo.
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