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How’s ProMaster doing?

by David Zatz on

The Ram ProMaster hit American shores some time after most expected it to, because the Ram team took a good hard look at it and said, “This won’t do.”

Two years later, with a beefed up suspension capable of handling American roads, and higher capacities for American loads, the front wheel drive commercial van went on the market. The US van world had changed, though: no longer was the only serious competitor Mercedes’ overpriced Sprinter.  Now, Nissan and Chevrolet shared an entry, and Ford had their Transit in the mix.

Not surprisingly, given Ford’s dominance in E-series vans, Ford still has the lead in market share, ranging between around 35% and 40%. But Ram is right there with the rest, with a roughly 16% share of the market — about the same as Chevrolet, and better than Mercedes and Nissan. Keep in mind, though, that the Chevy and GMC are essentially the same van.

One surprise is the health of the Sprinter; while it’s still overpriced, Mercedes did provide a cut-price version of it, and is likely doing hefty discounts for key fleets.

fleet vans - ProMaster City

The ProMaster City, which is imported from Europe, also competes in a market absolutely dominated by Ford’s 50%+ share. Market share for the City has generally been nearly 20% — falling between Nissan (roughly 30%) and Chevrolet (below 10%).

Chances are the vans are still cost-effective, sharing as much as they do with European models (particularly the ProMaster). Both are competent entries in their fields, but Ford has been pursuing van sales for many years, while Dodge and then Ram lost their full-size van in 2001 and only recently returned.

The vans may or may not be profitable, but they do make it easier for fleet buyers to specify Mopar, because they can make all their purchases from one company. Without the vans, they would have to deal with FCA and someone else to get a full spread of vehicles.

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