Chrysler's last big commercial van was the Dodge Sprinter, a rebadged Mercedes that went away in 2010, after Fiat gained majority control of Chrysler. The ProMaster is an Americanized version of the Fiat Ducato and is being sold under the Ram brand. For a better look at the vehicle itself, see the videos at the bottom of this page.
So how does this vehicle differ from traditional commercial vans?
- It is front-wheel drive, which reduces weight and allows for easier loading and unloading because with no drive shaft or rear differential it's a shorter step up to the cargo floor.
- Hybrid Construction. Instead of the usual body on frame construction the cab is unibody and the cargo area has a steel subframe.
- Sliding side cargo door opens wide enough (49 inches) to allow pallets to be lifted in from the side as well as the rear.
The standard engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 but there is the option for a 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel. The ProMaster is available in 13 configurations, including multiple lengths and heights.
According to Chrysler, the Ducato (which the ProMaster is based on) is the number one selling van in Europe and is in its third generation. Chrysler's previous full-size commercial van, the Sprinter, was imported from Germany and partially assembled in the U.S. The ProMaster is being built in a brand new Chrysler plant in Saltillo, Mexico, next to an older plant where some Ram 1500 trucks and all Ram Heavy Duty models are made.