Dodge / Ram
with thanks to Dan Minick who is responsible for much of the content
The Iveco Massif, a rugged off-road commercial vehicle, may be coming to the United States now that its Spanish builder, Santana, has shut down operations. Based on (and using the frame of) the Iveco Daily van, it was launched in 2007, in body styles including a pickup seven-passenger wagon.
With more ground clearance and better approach, breakover, and departure angle than any existing Jeep other than the Wrangler Rubicon, along with a solid front axle, leaf-spring rear, and durable construction, the Massif would likely perform better off-road than current closed-roof Jeeps. It is, however, not especially "massif;" the standard three-door wagon is shorter than the Wrangler Unlimited, the pickup is around the same length as the Unlimited, and the extended-wheelbase five-door version is shorter and narrower than the 2011 Grand Cherokee.
Unlike the Hummer H2, the Massif should not be "extreme" in fuel consumption. Powered by a three-liter diesel which rumor claims is being federalized, the Massif weighs in at 4,718 lb versus Hummer H2's 6,614 pounds — nearly a full ton lighter. The engine is half the size and diesel to boot — a four cylinder diesel versus Hummer H2's 6-liter gasoline V8. Massif is also around a foot narrower than H2 was, and two feet shorter, bumper to bumper.
Alternative view (Dan Minick):Here's my hunch whats going on. Iveco wants to find a manufacturing place/or replacement for Massif. Due to connections with Chrysler, Jeep is the first choice to go to. Massif was done in CATIA, leading to the urgent search for a CATIA engineer. Maybe a Jeep version will appear, to make the numbers work (by adding volume). It might, though, just be contract work through Jeep. I think it's all in the early stages, and probably has many hurdles to pass before it would be approved. Assembly may even be at an Iveco plant in Europe, Australia, or South America.
Iveco and Fiat's civilian automotive brands are no longer in the same company, but that would not prevent a mutually beneficial partnership. Difficulties in the rumor would be the claims that Grand Wagoneer will be a seven passenger van (difficult to achieve with the Massif), the limited volumes one would expect, expenses in federalizing (achieving U.S. approval) the vehicle and engine, and other needed changes.
The rumor is backed by a recent Chrysler job posting, requiring CATIA v5, which the Massif was created on — versus NX, which Chrysler is switching to over the summer of 2011. The job notes a "new platform" being developed. It is possible that the plan is to hire experienced new people on a project basis to either adapt the existing Iveco Massif, or the Iveco Daily itself, to Jeep use — with a link-coil suspension replacing the leaf springs, perhaps.
In favor of selling the Massif as a Jeep in the United States would be the potential for increasing sales past break-even, shared components with the Daily and possibly other Fiat and Iveco vehicles, and the market opening left by the departure of Hummer.
Bringing over the Massif, even in re-engineered form, would address discussion of the Grand Wagoneer (which otherwise would seem to duplicate the Grand Cherokee and Durango), Mike Manley's lines about a pickup, and even Ram's alleged grumblings over Jeep getting a pickup, and Sergio Marchionne's answer that it wasn't to be called a pickup, as such. It would also help Fiat to make Jeep the pinnacle offroad brand, trumping Land Rover and Toyota, which dominate Africa and other remote locations. At least one exec has said Jeep would be competent at least, preferably best, in all classes.
The former satire site pentastars.com noted another possible Fiat-Jeep collaboration. This one did not make it to production as a Jeep, despite clear off-road credentials.
Against the Massif would be working in CATIA when the company is moving to NX; the alternative of creating a family of vehicles including Wranglers and Massif-replacements as part of ongoing Wrangler re-engineering; the substantial costs involved for limited return; the lack of advantage over a J8 derivative; the small size of the wagon; and the sheer extent of higher priority work being done by Chrysler and Fiat.
The Massif would probably be built at a plant that currently makes the Daily.
Note: this is seen as a very unlikely scenario.
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