Heavy Duty Trucking

OCT 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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64 HDT • OCTOBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com top upfitters have located facilities within 20 miles of our Kansas City plant," Hetman says. The new compact stream-styled Transit Connect has also taken off well, and will probably exceed the success of the plainer, boxier TC wagon and panel van. It started a trend toward "right-sizing" — high volume in a small footprint with a small, economical powertrain for those who carry bulky but lightweight items. The new Transit Connect, built in Spain, comes with two wheelbases and two 4-cylinder gasoline engines, including a 1.6-liter tur- bocharged EcoBoost rated at 23 mpg city and 30 highway. Ram's got a hit The large Fiat Ducato-based ProMaster, Americanized and assembled in Mexico, has been a hit, reports Bob Hegbloom, head of Chrysler Group's Ram truck brand. "We're coming up on our first birthday; 945 dealers are selling the product, so dealers are getting active in the commercial business. More important, we're getting more market share. We're now trending toward 18-20% of the Class 2 large van segment, the heart of the market where Promaster plays," he says. "So many people are using it in so many ways – con- struction trades, electrical, plumbing, carpeting and tile, landscaping," he says. Product and package delivery is the other major use, and FedEx Express is among its custom- ers. DirecTV made good use of ProMaster's front-wheel- drive because "in a winter storm, they were the only vans that could make it on the road." The Class 1 Promaster City is due to launch soon, with vehicles at dealers in late December, according to Rob Rizzo, marketing manager. Based on the high-selling (1.3 million in Europe and elsewhere) Fiat Doblo, it will be built in Turkey, have an 1,833-pound payload, good fuel economy, and 4.5 feet of room between wheel wells – im- portant for pallet loading. Its gasoline powertrain includes a 9-speed automatic transmission. The ProMaster City will replace the Dodge Caravan-based Ram C/V, which will be phased out at the end of 2015. NVs small and big Nissan is pleased at how the compact, unibody NV200 is doing since its sales debut in April, says Phil O'Conner, who heads the firm's commercial van operations. "Cus- L arge Euro-style unibody cargo vans will hold their resale value better than traditional body- on-frame trucks, says ALG, the analytics division of TrueCar Inc. The German Sprinter, imported since 2001 and now sold by Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner deal- ers, already keeps 52% of its original price after three years, and ALG predicts that Ram's ProMas- ter will retain 49%. Ford's new Transit should retain 47%, "significantly higher" than the residual values for the most recent Econoline model years, ALG says. "Escalating fuel prices have placed greater importance on fuel economy for commercial fleet owners," says Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president of TrueCar. "These three European-style vans feature lighter-weight construction and better fuel efficiency than their predecessors. "By improving fuel efficiency from an average of 14 mpg from a few years back to nearly 20 mpg today, U.S. business owners will save hundreds of millions of dollars each year." Unibody vans should hold value Vans aplenty Based on the high-selling Fiat Doblo, the Ram Promaster will offer an 1,833-pound payload, improved fuel economy, and 4.5 feet of room between wheelwells.

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