After its split from Daimler, Chrysler stopped selling the successful and popular Sprinter commercial van. Fiat, however, is coming to the rescue with the Ducato, its own commercial van currently on sale in Europe.
According to Automotive News, the Chrysler Group will soon sell a commercial van in North America based on the Fiat Ducato under the Ram brand. The Ducato shares its front-drive platform with the Peugeot Boxer, both of which are currently sold in Europe.
“It’s designed perfectly to try and deal with the market segment here in the United States, so we think it will grow,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Chrysler Group.
Marchionne was on hand at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show where he said his company would expand its plant in Saltillo, Mexico to build the Ram-branded Ducato in time for a 2013 sale date. No other details have been provided, but the Ducato should be offered in a number of configurations. The automaker will likely make minor cosmetic changes to give the Ram a more distinctive look for the North American market.
Once it arrives, it will do battle with a number of established commercial van offerings such as the upcoming Ford Transit and the Sprinter, which is now sold under the Mercedes-Benz banner. Chrysler currently sells a commercial version of the Dodge Grand Caravan called the Ram C/V, though it is smaller than the Ducato.
The Chrysler Group has already announced plans to bring over the Fiat Doblo, which is similar in size to the Ford Transit. Like the Ducato, the Doblo will be sold here as a Ram. No official word on when the Doblo will reach our shores.