Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Are Americans Ready for the Ram Van Built in Turkey?

The new for 2015 Ram ProMaster City van is headed our way, and thanks to FIAT engineers in Italy, we'll get a US version of the FIAT Doblo van. Hold on to your Made in the USA hats, batten down your Made In Italy Hatches, because believe it or not, this vehicle is built in Turkey, so that just might be a first for cars in the US!  Here's a great review from the New York Daily News: NY Daily News LINK

Here at Nixon Motor Sports we're no strangers to foreign built cars since we're happily driving the Japanese built Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Mexican built FIAT 500 Abarth, (and in the past, the VW Rabbit, VW Fox, Nissan Sentra, etc.),  but TURKEY?  THE VAN IS BUILT IN THE COUNTRY OF TURKEY?????

The facts are that all the major manufacturers probably build cars in multiple countries around the world, so it's not a big shock when you look at it that way. Let's walk around the van we saw at the Motor Trend Auto Show in Richmond VA and see what we find!

Note that the final assembly point is Bursa Turkey, but the engine and transmission are built in the US.  So, buy one of these vans and you can tell people your van already has 10,000 miles on the engine, on less than a gallon of gas!

 Here's the full window sticker, you can click on it for a better view.  If you need a work van or a cargo van that only has two seats, and has a big flat space for stuff in the back, this might be the perfect van for you!

Base price: $25,655
Vehicle Shown: $27,505
21mpg in the city
29mpg highway
Here's the name badge on the door, RAM ProMaster CITY.  Not sure if that really rolls off the tongue, but hey, a RAM should be tough, a PRO is a professional, a Master is an expert, and a city is uh, a city.

I'm still thinking about a van built in Turkey, so sorry if I don't come up with any witty sayings on the reverse of RAM is MAR.
OK, it's a smallish city van, probably ideal for delivering big 3-dimensional rectangular objects, like Ikea furniture, boxes of basketballs, and those funky rectangular shaped 2 gallon jugs of milk (do they even make those anymore?).
 Side view, nice sliding doors on both sides for easy access.  If you can see in there, there is a solid floor-to-ceiling wall between the seats and the cargo area, so even if you put your kids in back you're not going to be able to hear them on the way to Grandma's house. Hmmm, now if there were some SEATS back there...
From the rear, you can see the two doors open wide, allowing full access to the cargo area, ideal for sliding in whatever large big rectangular and square items you need to put in there. Heck, I bet you could even squeeze in some round objects or odd shaped cowboy hats in there in the USA!
Here we're looking mostly down at the floor of the van from the open side door, trying to show you the tie down hooks like in the lower left corner, near the lower right, and in the upper right quadrant.   And in the upper left now that I look at it. 

Shoot, just look near all four corners and you'll find a handy D ring thing to tie stuff down.
 Here's Mario behind the wheel.  Unfortunately they weren't offering any test drives, so my only report is that in the very short time I sat in the seat I pushed it back to where I felt was a good range for driving, but I think you can see that this put the seat back up against the wall. I'm not a tall person, so while there is a ton of head room (which comes in handy if you're driving with a helmet on, or have Marge Simpson hair), you might want to check this out for driver leg room.
Then again, driving in the city, how long will you be sitting?

Not my best photo, but you can see the van has a steering wheel, dash, and is an automatic. Lots of knobs and it does everything you need a van to do I guess.

How will the FIAT-Doblo-Ram-ProMaster-City sell in the US?  Too soon to tell, but I'm going to predict it will be very popular, and you're bound to see one on the road soon.

However, I'm pretty darn sure that the Fiat Chrysler Automobile company would prefer you just don't call it the Turkey Van.

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