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TORRANCE, Calif. — Chrysler Group's RAM Brand recently showcased an (11 + driver) passenger van at LCT offices, presenting it as a viable option for shuttle and group transportation.
The RAM 2500 Promaster Van combines enough refinements and efficiencies to make it competitive with the Ford Transit Van, which officially entered the chauffeured transportation market this year. Both the Promaster and the Transit are lower priced alternatives to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van, which has dominated the upscale luxury large van market in the limousine industry.
LCT background article: Transit, Sprinter Vie For Chauffeured Market
The 2014 ProMaster is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths. The model on display last week features an extended 159-in. wheelbase, a 101-in. height, a 3.6-liter, Pentastar V6 engine with 6-spd. automatic transmission and 280 hp, front-wheel drive and a 24-gallon fuel tank. The model on display, which included a customer preferred package, was priced at $37,175, with a base price of $32,875.
The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6-liter V-6 is 11,500 pounds, and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel. A unibody structure offers stability and strength from front to rear, a reinforced plenum area for optimized engine packaging, and “truer” tuning of chassis systems and related hardware when compared to more common body-on-frame applications.
The combination of front-wheel drive and unibody frame architecture makes it significantly lighter than the competition. RAM promotes the Promaster as versatile, reliable, economical and heavy-duty.
“We understand the vehicle has to be on the road day in and day out, and make enough money day in and day out,” said Bob Hegbloom, President and CEO of RAM Trucks in Auburn Hills, Mich. “You have to deliver on the capability.” Hegbloom spoke to editors from LCT Magazine and companion fleet magazines during the vehicle demo Aug. 21 in the parking lot of the magazines’ parent company, Bobit Business Media.
Ram Truck is tapping into Fiat Professional, one of the largest producers of commercial vehicles in the entire world, offering more than 110 years of experience. That knowledge will help Ram Truck enter new segments and expand its product line. The new 2014 Ram ProMaster is based on the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, which is the most popular full-size van in Europe. The 2013 Ram ProMaster is the Company’s first shared truck collaboration with Fiat Professional.
The Fiat Ducato is now in its third generation with more than 4.5 million sold worldwide. The Ducato platform offers Ram a proven, award-winning workhorse with a combination of durability, value, efficiency, and capability. Additionally, the ProMaster is the only offering in its competitive set to provide both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory.
Vehicle Review: As it stands, this represents a solid step forward for the automaker’s largest van.
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