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Thursday, February 7, 2013

2014 Dodge Ram ProMaster

I know I sound a like a broken record on these pages at times, but this subject resonates with me, because I had to put up with bad work trucks for years. I had no choice. Years and years ago shortly after coming to Canada I did delivery work using Chevy and Ford vans and I also used a Dodge Ram Van as a contractor a little later. They were terrible vehicles to work with and to drive. Terrible driving positions, poor handling, poor visibility, terrible brakes and bad cargo space and cargo door design to boot.

While the rest of the world (mostly Europe) was building more modern, efficient and more driver/user friendly work vans, the old boys in Detroit couldn’t care less and continued with the same basic design for decades. You can’t lay all the blame on GM, Ford and Chrysler though. After all, they catered to the business community and built trucks that businesses wanted. And cheap is what everybody (except the drivers of course) wanted. Efficient, practical, safe and easy to operate? Who cares?! And what was that you said about the driver? What? Can’t hear you…

Recent spike in fuel costs forced the market to reassess the needs of businesses. Efficiency became a key demand. Of course Detroit was caught with their pants down yet again and had no technology to offer business owners desperately trying to keep their heads above water. That is, the old boys in Detroit had the technology, they were just too lazy or dumb to use it. Modern GM and Ford commercial vans have been very popular in Europe for years. The Dodge Ram ProMaster here is a rebadged Fiat Ducato and Fiat has sold 4.5 million of them over the years. GM and Ford enjoyed similar success with their offerings. Why they couldn’t bring the stuff here earlier is beyond me.

Mercedes-Benz has been here with the Sprinter for a number of years now, but had limited success and market penetration with the truck. Although very fuel efficient, practical and well designed, the Sprinter suffered from high initial purchase price, ultra expensive replacement parts and spotty reliability.

Ford has joined the party now with the Transit, Chrysler is here with the Ducato and GM can’t be far behind. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the 21st Century.

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