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Discussion Starter #1
I'm extremely disappointed in the looks of the new Ram ProMaster... In almost all other aspects it seems like an excellent vehicle that promises to be able to go toe to toe with the competition's best vans, but it looks like something Daimler would come up with; a hack job. I'm talking shades of the ridiculously oversized black hubcaps on the later Sprinters hack job. I understand that form follows function in work vans, and looks aren't really much of a concern, but it looks like they popped the Fiat badge off with a screwdriver, cut the plastic on the front a little wider (haven't we gotten to the point where we can make plastics in something OTHER than matte black/grey?) and glued a Ram badge on. It looks terrible, in my opinion.

Seems to me that Ram could have done a tie-in with the recent popularity of "retro" styling and reviving old nameplates and call it the A1500/2500/3500, the A representing a "new start" for the Ram van line. They could have styled it after the old A vans from the '60s, which were very powerful sellers for Dodge, and splashed "RAM" across the hood in huge letters where the original said "DODGE". It would help to define a brand that people are still confused about, made the van look less European (to me, current European styling, especially with fleet vehicles like vans, seems to be what would be considered "futuristic" in the mid '90s, it's awful), and would have given Ram a distinct, positive, current image while tying back to a uniquely American (the new van is distinct... but not in a good way, IMO). I know that there would be extra issues with producing and styling a new front end, but I think it would attract people to the product and would give Ram a better image as an American brand rather than an American brand owned by Europeans.
 

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Yeah, I don't like how it looks either. I think that they should have moved the headlights down into the area around the grille and restyled the grille to be similar to the minivan. At least then it would have had a consistent look with the rest of the product line.
 

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The current Ducato is getting long in the tooth. Could it be that they are waiting until the new Ducato comes out to do significant changes to the exterior for the Ram model?
 

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SouthPawXJ said:
The current Ducato is getting long in the tooth. Could it be that they are waiting until the new Ducato comes out to do significant changes to the exterior for the Ram model?
That would be nice if true, but there's a danger that with a bad initial product launch, even the next version could suffer...
 

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That is true. If that was the case as well, I wonder why re-entering now was so important... They could've just waited until then.

TWX said:
That would be nice if true, but there's a danger that with a bad initial product launch, even the next version could suffer...
 

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But then, looking at the RV version, the body color front area is actually attractive. In commercial use, ugly seems to sell, anyway!
 

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For commercial use, no one cares if it looked nice or not.. the main thing for a company is how efficient and reliable..
 
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Mopar392 said:
For commercial use, no one cares if it looked nice or not.. the main thing for a company is how efficient and reliable..
If it is on the road and has your company logo on it you bet you are concerned about how it looks. Styling isn't an issue if there is only one brand of truck on the market. But this segment is heating up. With more choices some companies might go with a brand based on past experience and not on current cost of ownership data. And since these are new there is no cost of ownership history data to use.

The Chassis cut away photo makes this thing look like an insect. Really buggy looking from the windshield forward.
 

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It sure is ugly.....
 

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TWX said:
Yeah, I don't like how it looks either. I think that they should have moved the headlights down into the area around the grille.
If you read the allpar article, the engineers chose function over form (moving the headlights up so they wouldn't be damaged in an accident).
 

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This is a fleet vehicle in it's current configuration. Fleets buy based on (1) needs and (2) costs (Reputation for reliability is a major factor in their cost figures). The unpainted nose will lower costs quite a bit. When you start to see an upscale passenger/RV model, the nose and other dark places will be painted and may even include some chrome finish. This should compete very well against the Sprinter (which does not look that much different) and I see a lot of 3.6L engines being sold to the smaller volume customers that do not want to deal with Diesel. Offering customized interiors right off the shelf will really help most dealers as they are not set up for a lot of interior installations. I hope that they do have an option for RFID inventory control too. This is a good move toward getting a full line of commercial product.
 

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I've never chosen to do or not to do business with a company based on the styling of their service vehicle.
 

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valiant67 said:
I've never chosen to do or not to do business with a company based on the styling of their service vehicle.
Neither have I
 

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mrneuro said:
If you read the allpar article, the engineers chose function over form (moving the headlights up so they wouldn't be damaged in an accident).
Not quite. The headlamp position from the Fiat Ducato hasn't changed at all.

They are touting the headlamp positions and the "modular front end" both as parts that lower the total cost of ownership. In a frontal crash, the headlamps are out of the way and less likely to be damaged or require replacement. The front fascia is in sections, each one fairly easy to remove.

CherokeeVision said:
If it is on the road and has your company logo on it you bet you are concerned about how it looks.
I would say that you are more concerned about how your company logo looks, and that people are looking at it. But that's me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Right, but they could do styling even keeping that headlight placement. I agree that form definitely follows function in the commercial market sector, but there may very well be people out there who option one of these out to what they need and find it's basically the same as another brand (I don't know what the pricing is on any commercial vans, to be fair, but it must happen). Then it comes down to picky little things like styling, and in my book, if I had to pick between two otherwise identical models, one that looks like the new van and one that looks like a cool neo-retro A-van, I'm going to pick the second. Plus, there are people who factor looks in higher on the "needs" list. For me, the van is plenty functional, it has an excellent powertrain and capacity, so make it look a little less ugly. Nobody else is doing a throwback work van. If you can do that, and do it in a functional way (which the original design was to start with), you generate chatter, which generates interest, which generates sales.
 

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Something tells me that there aren't that many companies sitting around wishing some automaker would produce a "throwback work van." I could be wrong, it's happened before.

I won't argue the fact that the front end styling leaves a lot to be desired from a "style" point of view. From a functional point of view, it works.
 

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Ugly isn't the word for it!
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Stratuscaster said:
Something tells me that there aren't that many companies sitting around wishing some automaker would produce a "throwback work van."
No, there probably aren't. But the features that companies are specifically sitting around waiting for have already been done. For example, Nissan and Ford both offer doors that have hinges that allow them to open out wide, just like the new Ram. So that's really not a deciding factor, because three different companies have it. People who were sitting around waiting for FWD powertrains now have the Transit Connect, or they can wait for the full-size Transit, OR they can wait for the Ram, so it's not a selling feature any more. If the van has unique styling, it's something nobody else has. It's like buying a computer: You can spec computers out to whatever you want, pretty much, and you're bound to have a few that come within the same price point. Then it comes down to piddly little things, like what it looks like. Because the market is so competitive, the prices and specs on the vehicles are going to be very close if not identical, and if one manufacturer has a revolutionary feature, most of the others are going to come out with something similar to stay competitive.
 

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mrneuro said:
If you read the allpar article, the engineers chose function over form (moving the headlights up so they wouldn't be damaged in an accident).
And you'll note that I made my post before the Allpar article showed up by about two hours.

I saw what was claimed. I still don't buy it. That front bumper is TALL. TALL TALL tall. They could have easily placed the headlights in the bumper above the steps and still had it high enough to be out of the bulk of danger. Arguably the real bumper is in line with that obvious crossbar low below the crosshair grille. I'd be worried that the unpainted bumpers will be collided with in the dark due to a lack of corner reflectors on them, they stick out so far relative to the headlight assemblies.

It looks to me like they decided to leave it alone because the fender, the hood, and the under-headlight sheet metal is all complicated enough that changing it away from this requires more work or, could impact crash safety standards in the re-test sense.
 
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