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New Doblò previews next ProMaster City

by Bill Cawthon on

The Ram ProMaster City small commercial van hasn’t even begun to ship to dealers in North America yet, but Fiat has just released official photos of the new Fiat Doblò passenger minivan.

Billed in Europe as the only “Active Family Space Vehicle,” it will hit dealer showrooms in February 2015 and be priced from about $22,650 to about $32,200.

The commercial version of the fourth-generation Doblò, sold under the Fiat Professional brand, took its first bows at the Hannover International Auto Show in September.

All versions of the Doblò, including the ProMaster City, are built at the joint venture Tofas plant in Turkey.

The exterior differences between the newest Doblò and the ProMaster City are primarily changes to the front clip and a revised, and more pleasing to U.S. tastes, headlamp cluster treatment. Upscale versions of the passenger van get a bright lip between the engine cover and the top of the grille.

Before anyone asks, the reason the changes weren’t incorporated on the vans to be sold under the Ram brand is most likely due to the time involved with adapting the existing truck to meet U.S. standards. It’s highly likely that the new styling changes weren’t frozen at the time Fiat Chrysler Automobiles started the re-engineering and approval process, meaning they couldn’t be included.

With the Ford Transit Connect and new Nissan NV200 already on the market and with Chevrolet having already begun selling the City Express, its version of the small Nissan, Ram is already the last major player in the segment. The delays necessary to wait for the newer version and incorporate the new styling into a U.S. government-approved vehicle could have easily added another year to the ProMaster City’s entry into what could be a growing market for small commercial vans. So Ram wisely chose to go with the available van: the ProMaster City can be transitioned to the revised version at any time.


The U.S. will be getting the Doblò Maxi with both high roof and extended wheelbase. In addition to the expanded cargo volume, the larger ProMaster Citys could also make it possible to offer taxi and small lifestyle conversions. Both the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 offer taxi conversions and if more cab operators follow the lead of New York City and convert fleets over to these newer vehicles, it could create an additional market for the ProMaster City.


Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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