Fiat’s Seriously Global Products

From the point of view of specs alone, the Ram ProMaster is a fairly impressive cargo vehicle.

From the point of view of specs alone, the Ram ProMaster is a fairly impressive cargo vehicle. That is, it is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths. There are both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory. It provides best-in-class payload capacity up to 5,145 lb. and a maximum towing capacity up to 5,100 lb. It is available with a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 and a 3.0-liter diesel I4.

But one of the most impressive aspects of this boxy vehicle, which started its existence in Europe as the Fiat Ducato, is this:


Yes, the boxy shape facilitates putting a pallet into the truck straight off the rails of the forklift.

Should you think that it is all rectangles, here is the front view:

While it isn’t going to win any coefficient of drag contests, it isn’t entirely like a cargo container.

Here’s an interesting thing about the Ram ProMaster. It is quite an international vehicle. As mentioned, it originally hails from Italy. It is now being produced in a $1.085-billion plant that Chrysler Group opened in July in Saltillo, Mexico. And if Chrysler Group is still considered an “American” company (Fiat currently owns 58.5% of Chrysler, and it would like to get the rest), then the ProMaster has a lot of stamps on its passport.

Speaking of Chrysler and Mexico, last week CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the company is spending $164-million at its Saltillo North Engine Plant, where it currently builds the HEMI. The investment will be used to add a new production line to produce the company’s Tigershark engines, 2.0- and 2.4-liter models.



The 2.4-liter Tigershark features MultiAir 2, an electro-hydraulic fully variable valve-lift system that uses a column of oil rather than a mechanical linkage to adjust the intake valves. The consequence is up to a 10% increase in power and 15% in torque. The MultiAir 2 system debuted on the TwinAir engine. . .from Fiat.

And it is worth noting that both Tigershark engines are available in the Dodge Dart, which is produced at the Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Illinois, a car that is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Think this isn’t a global industry? Think again.