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The Americanization of Doblo

by David Zatz on

After many claims that the popular Fiat Doblò van, made in Turkey, would be imported to the United States and Canada with minimal changes, Ram implied today that it would, in fact, be quite different from the European model.

A small press release, issued, withdrawn, and then reissued, claimed that the 2015 “Ram ProMaster City will encompass familiar Ram Truck styling cues and offer features and powertrains preferred by North American commercial customers.”

The Doblò van is around 168 inches long, versus the Ram Cargo Van at 203 inches, and 68 inches wide, where Ram Cargo Van is 79 inches wide. The maximum load is around 1,600 lb, depending on region and configuration. A new, larger model was recently released; this may foreshadow changes to the American version.

When the Fiat Ducato was converted to American use as the Ram ProMaster, it gained a toughened suspension and body for added durability, and also gained a substantial increase in payload capacity; Ram also changed the interior and added a Chrysler powertrain option, the 3.6 liter V6 with a six-speed automatic. Doblo is normally powered by a Fiat four-cylinder engine, but may have been modified to accept a Chrysler 2.4 liter hooked up to a conventional automatic; it is also likely to have the original Fiat 1.4 liter engine (perhaps the turbo version used in Dart) and/or a small Fiat diesel to keep fuel costs low.

RVC pointed out that the next-generation Doblò, on which the Ram will be based, is being developed by the Tofas joint venture in Turkey. One change is the switch from the prior generation’s rear leaf springs to a “bi-link” suspension.

Originally, the ProMaster City was set to be built in Turkey, but if the changes are really unique to North America, it could be made in Toluca, Mexico, to be joined by a small or midsized Ram pickup engineered for both North America and Europe.

A print article in Automotive News confirmed the arrival of the ProMaster City in the 2015 model year, some months ago.

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