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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chrysler's Ram brand adding two Fiat based products

Chrysler's Ram brand product plan (click for full size view)

During Chrysler's Five Year Product Plan (announced November 4) , the Ram brand presented plans to sell two Fiat based commercial vans during the 2012 model year. As you can see from the above slide, there will be a small and large van proposed. Details are emerging on which vans from the Fiat lineup they'll be.

The small van looks like it will be the Fiat Doblò, a newly redesigned version of the "2006 International Van of the Year". The Doblò is a popular vehicle in Europe, and in America, will be a strong competitor to the similar sized Ford Transit Connect van. According to the slide, this small commercial van vehicle will be imported by Fiat (more specifically Turkey, where it is manufactured).

The choice for the larger vehicle was between two Fiat products, the Fiat Ducato and the Iveco Daily. These two vehicles are comparable to the outgoing Dodge Sprinter van (previously supplied to Dodge by Daimler). At this time, it appears the choice will go to the Fiat Ducato, a van that is (in Europe) more economical and generally less expensive than the old Sprinter. Previously, I've posted a brief overview of the Ducato and the Daily here.

Interestingly, the chart above says the large vehicle will be based off of a Fiat platform, so that sounds like this vehicle will be a Ducato derived commercial van manufactured here in the USA.

The addition of these two modern, efficient, proven vehicles to Chrysler's Ram brand product lineup will come at the right time as fuel prices and business expenses are expected to rise within the next few years. Vans like these will help American businesses save money and break away from the uneconomical, old fashioned cargo vans produced by GM and Ford.

Below is a look at the Fiat Doblò (this vehicle will receive a name change here in America), courtesy of Fiat Group Press.

Fiat Doblò Cargo

The newly redesigned Fiat Doblò is a vehicle designed to meet a need for functionality and comfort that makes the most of interior space and can accommodate up to seven people (in passenger van configuration). An authentic 'family space' that can rely on top-class safety, economy and respect for the environment.

Compared to the previous version that sold approximately one million units, the new model has been completely revamped in terms of style, engines and technical specifications. These aspects make the new Fiat Doblò the "best in class" both in terms of space and in terms of reduced emissions.

Fiat Doblò passenger van

All this has been achieved through the use of a new platform, more passenger space (with a wheelbase of 2755 mm, the biggest in its segment), a roomy 790 liter luggage compartment, reduced CO2 emissions (129 g/km with the 1.3 Multijet 90 HP engine, the lowest in its category), standard safety features and highly modular interiors with seats that can be folded and tilted.

Style and comfort

Fiat Doblò Cargo

The look is very cutting-edge. With a central shield and side bumpers that are perfectly integrated with the body, the front end blends protection and sophistication while the pronounced wheel arch and sloping shoulder contribute to the vehicle's strong and agile look. The tailgate's essential lines emphasis the accessibility and size of the generous load compartment; clear, sparkling light clusters and expanses of glass give the new Doblò a touch of elegance.

The interiors have also been designed to offer functionality and create attractive, welcoming environments through combination of colors, materials and trims.
Smart solutions for the best use of on-board space, such as a range of storage compartments and flexible interiors, offering up to 7 places, will satisfy the needs of those who make the Doblò a car to be enjoyed with family or friends.

Environment and economy

The Fiat Doblò will offer 4 power units at its launch: a 95 HP petrol engine and three diesel Multijet engines, 90, 105 and 135 HP, which will later be joined by a Natural Power engine with dual fuel system (petrol and methane) and an additional diesel engine with Dualogic robotized gearbox.

All units are lively and offer smooth torque delivery. They are remarkable for driving satisfaction, excellent performance, low noise levels, low operating costs (fuel consumption and maintenance) and also for their reliability and eco-friendliness.

The range is available with Euro 4 and Euro 5 versions and offers a Start&Stop device as standard, which cuts off the engine temporarily when the car is stopped to guarantee reduced fuel consumption and emissions.


Fiat Doblò instrument panel

To ensure optimum dynamic behavior, comfort and active safety in all road surface and load conditions, the vehicle has been equipped with innovative mechanical features including a bi-link rear suspension system available with various component calibrations depending on vehicle application. The Doblò's consistent and predictable road-holding is also guaranteed by the use of state-of-the-art electronic devices for stability control, namely ABS with electronic brake force distribution EBD and, above all, ESP complemented by a hill-holder system that helps the driver during Hill starts and comes as standard on this model.

The vehicle has been designed and built to achieve the highest levels of passive safety, due to a body with crumple zones, front air bags and innovative front side bags. The latter offer protection for both head and chest.

The vehicle also offers technical solutions and equipment that create optimum comfort conditions and help keep attention on the road: these include an automatic climate control system with distribution to rear seats, cruise control, parking sensors, a built-in Blue&Me hands-free system and a “Blue&Me TomTom” navigator.

The Doblò Cargo

The Doblò Cargo, also new, is at the top of the professional vehicle category

The new Fiat Doblò is joined by the new Doblò Cargo which has been designed to take its place at the top of its category in terms of performance and functional characteristics. It offers a more roomy load compartment than the previous model: square, regular, fully exploitable and equipped with sliding side doors and generously-sized rear doors to make light work of loading and unloading operations. Record-breaking statistics (interior length up to 2.2 meters, width between wheel arches of 1.23 meters, volume from 3.4 to 4.2 cubic meters, payload from 750 to 1000 Kg, combined fuel consumption of 4.8 liters/100 km and range of 1250 Km with the 1.3 Multijet engine) ensure that the new vehicle can offer substantial benefits in terms of optimization and reduction of running costs.

The range finds expression in 7 different body types: short and long wheelbase van, high top van, short and long wheelbase 5-seater combi; a particularly appealing and brand-new short and long drop-framed version can be easily and cheaply converted for specific trades (refrigeration chambers, fixed and tilting flatbed trucks).

Sources: Chrysler Media and Fiat Group Press

1 comment:

Mel said...

The new fiat doblo cargo campaign shows real commitment from Fiat to its customer, by reassuring the vans fuel consumption efficiency. I am definitely booking a test drive.