The launch of Chrysler’s new 2014 Ram ProMaster van — on the Fiat Ducato platform — at the Chicago Auto Show today signaled a sea change in the RV chassis market in North America, according to a report by Examiner.com.
Going forward, North America’s Class B and compact Class C motorhome market is likely to be dominated by three European designed platforms; the Fiat Ducato, the Ford Transit Van and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – not forgetting other overseas players like the Nissan NV.
Based on the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, the 2014 Ram ProMaster — the company’s first truck collaboration with Fiat Professional — will be offered with either the 3.0-liter I-4 174-hp EcoDiesel (that generates peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. at just 1,400 rpm) or the 280-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 (with peak torque of 260 lb.-ft.). The engines are paired, respectively, with an electronically controlled six-speed automated manual and a six-speed automatic transmission.
The ProMaster will be available in two roof heights (90 or 101 inches), three wheelbases (118, 136 and 150-inch), and four body lengths, including both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory. The platform’s unibody frame architecture makes it significantly lighter than the competition with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6-liter V-6 of 11,500 pounds and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel.
According to Examiner.com, some standard features that RV conversion companies and their customers will find handy are the electronic stability control (ESC) system, the trailer/tow program — which comes standard with 62TE and the M40 automated manual — the ParkView backup camera and the five-inch touch screen global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation system.
Production of the 2014 Ram ProMaster is scheduled to begin at the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico, in the third quarter of 2013. The all new Ford Transit Van — manufactured at Ford’s Kansas City manufacturing facility and available in Q4 2013 — will also offer a diesel option – a 197-horsepower 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbo diesel (developing 347 lb.-ft. of torque).