How does a company compete with a existing player who has a long head start? It helps to undercut their pricing, as Hyundai did for many years, and as the Fiat 500 more recently did versus the Mini line. The Ram ProMaster , accordingly, undercuts Mercedes’ Sprinter . (As a side note, it’s a Mercedes Sprinter in Canada, but appears to once again be a Freightliner Sprinter in the US, after being a Mercedes and Dodge for a while.)
Canadian pricing for ProMaster Cargo Van in starts at C$31,395 (not including destination, which we believe will be at least $1,000) for the 1500 model, which carries a 118 inch wheelbase. Going to the medium wheelbase (136”) brings the price up to $32,495. That’s not quite as long as the base Sprinter (144”), nor as high capacity, but the price is a far cry from the lowest Sprinter at C$42,900.
To make the comparison more fair, we can step up to the ProMaster 2500 (C$35,495); it’s higher in capacity than Sprinter (8,900 lb GVWR) and includes 8,550) and has a high roof and heavy duty brakes, while Sprinter has a standard diesel with more power, and a five speed automatic vs ProMaster six speed. Going to a 159 inch wheelbase adds $1,000 — now cheaper, larger, and more capable than Sprinter.
Sprinter does have some options ProMaster does not (longer bodies, higher roofs, passenger vans), along with a traditional rear wheel drive basis, but the most expensive model Ram van — the 159-inch wheelbase ProMaster 3500 cargo van with high roof — is still cheaper, at C$38,495, than the cheapest Sprinter. (The 144-inch wheelbase Sprinter 3500, incidentally, weighs in at a stunning C$49,300.)
American pricing starts at US$29,625 for the 118” low-roof and $30,515 for the 136” wheelbase. Going up to the ProMaster 2500 with 159” wheelbase and high roof sets up the ProMaster up at $33,870 — versus $38,670 for the Sprinter 144” high roof cargo van. That’s nearly $5,000 cheaper, with a longer wheelbase and much higher payload (3,998 vs 3,362 lb).
A more direct comparison may be possible if the Ram version of the Iveco Daily it approved, as it allegedly has been.
For full American pricing, see our March 2013 story.