Stellantis hopes to deliver big sales numbers with 2023 Ram ProMaster delivery van

At a time when delivery vans seem to be on just about every street in America on any given day, it's not a surprise that Chrysler-parent Stellantis is banking heavily on its 2023 Ram ProMaster van to provide some solid sales numbers. The new vehicle is scheduled to be unveiled Wednesday at the National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Week show in Indianapolis. The show is what a Ram executive described to a Free Press reporter as the "Super Bowl" for the commercial vehicle segment, the perfect place to show off something big.

ProMaster vans are the kinds of vehicles that lend themselves to package delivery services as well as small businesses, such as contractors or plumbers. Officials say Ram's customers generally track with the industry, which sells about 60% to large fleets and 40% to small businesses and retail. Amazon is slated to be the first commercial customer for the Ram ProMaster Battery Electric Vehicle when it launches next year.

The companies expect to put thousands of the electric Ram vans on the road each year. The significance of the light commercial vehicle market has grown in importance, juiced in part by the pandemic and online shopping trends of recent years. It was evident to European regulators in June 2020 as they weighed the then-proposed merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group and deemed the vehicle segment an area of competitive concern should the merger proceed, which it ultimately did, creating Stellantis. 

European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager noted at the time that commercial vans are an "increasingly important market in a digital economy where private consumers rely more than ever on delivery services." And ProMaster has been on a roll in the United States. The company's 2021 U.S. sales release noted that it was the best total sales year for ProMaster vans with sales of 63,361, up 25% compared with the year prior, although fourth-quarter numbers were down 17%.

Ram executives say they are pumped about the new vehicle. "This is the most advanced Ram ProMaster we have ever built," Ram brand CEO Mike Koval Jr. said on Tuesday during a phone call ahead of the unveiling. One of the biggest changes for the 2023 ProMaster is the addition of a third roof height, what's being described as a "super high roof configuration," Koval said.

The higher roof adds 10 inches of headroom, with the exterior height now at 111.5 inches and the interior cargo height at 86.4 inches, according to spokesman Trevor Dorchies. The vehicle offers more than 500 cubic feet of cargo space and has 19 different configurations, including four vehicle lengths from 8 to 13.5 feet. "Cargo capability is the most important purchase reason for these particular buyers, and so having a number of best-in-class features and benefits really puts Ram at the forefront of the consideration list, but having that third roof height significantly enables our customers who haul ... cargo as well as other vocations to maximize that space," Koval said. 

A new available rear rollup door, made of anodized aluminum for weight and durability reasons, is another change that should make a difference for package haulers, Koval said. "This is really a game changer for us and will allow quick and easy access to cargo," Koval said. More: Amazon, Stellantis deal promises to use thousands of electric Ram delivery vans

More: New fully electric Jeep unveiled as Stellantis CEO touts plans for next decade More: Stellantis announces 'Ram Revolution' as it gears up for electric pickup launch A new front fascia, with LED headlights and fog lamps, is another feature Koval pointed to as helping the van stand out.

Available safety features include parallel and perpendicular park assist, full-speed forward collision warning, crosswind assist, drowsiness detection and post-collision braking; partially automated active driving assist that delivers lane centering with adaptive cruise control, and the Uconnect 5 infotainment system that provides everything from navigation to wi-fi hotspots along with customizable user profiles, the company said. A digital rearview mirror and backup camera with "dynamic grid lines" help address a desire for better visibility by van customers, the company said. The 2023 ProMaster can provide up to 6,910 pounds of towing capability and 4,680 pounds of payload, which the company said is best in class.

The van is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine mated to a nine speed automatic transmission. It's built in Saltillo, Mexico. The 2023 ProMaster will be available at dealerships in the third quarter of this year.

Pricing was not provided. Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected]

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