The “Ram Revolution” is coming, Ram CEO Mike Koval Jr., told The Detroit News during an interview this past Friday. The pickup truck/commercial arm of Stellantis North America looks to bring in electrification with the launch of the new Ram ProMaster battery-electric vehicle (BEV) later this year.
As we reported earlier, Ram will also show a conceptual version of its Ram 1500 BEV to the public in November. While it won’t be launched until 2024 (as a 2025 model year vehicle), Koval told The Detroit News that if initial demand for the ProMaster BEV is any indication, then Ram hopes to sell a million vehicles in 2024.
Launched earlier this month, the updated 2023 Ram ProMaster has attracted a lot of new interest thanks to an overall of its past questionable looks and a new “super high roof” option. The new option on the 13-foot cargo van adds 10 inches of headroom when compared to the next configuration and best-in-class cargo volume and cargo height. A roll-up door is also available on the back of the vehicle and enables easier parcel handling for those whose job focuses on final mile delivery.
But as the ProMaster gains more popularity, production has also needed to increase. Stellantis has already added more capacity to the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant in Mexico, where the ProMaster is currently built. This included adding a third shift to the 2.8 million square foot facility, which now employs 2,404 (2,242 hourly; 162 salaried). Stellantis also increased production by 4 jobs per hour, which raised production to a full capacity of 97,000 units per year. But is it enough?
Koval told The Detroit News that the automaker is looking at the possibility of adding production in Europe, where other Stellantis commercial vans, including the ProMaster’s corporate cousins (Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, and Citroën Jumper) are currently built.
“The nice thing about a merger like Stellantis where two global companies come together is that we now have access to their factories,” said Koval, noting that the brand is looking at two factories in Europe. “There are homologation challenges, so it’s not easy, but we are finding ways to take advantage of that scale to possibly bring more volume, because we think, especially on that product, the adoption of electric vehicles will be quite aggressive, especially at the end of the decade. But we also know that there will still be demand or interest in ICE, certainly in the U.S., so we have to do both. We have to find new capacity and we are looking everywhere”.
Stellantis sells a huge number of commercial vans globally. The Italian-French-American automaker announced a couple of months ago, that it would be expanding its partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. to not only build a mid-size van but a full-size one as well.
According to Koval, the Ram brand accounted for 40% of Stellantis’ commercial sales in 2021.
Amazon will be the first commercial customer for Stellantis’ new Ram ProMaster BEV. Stellantis, with input from Amazon, designed the vehicle with unique last-mile delivery features. Amazon will deploy the vehicles to routes across the United States. Building on the current relationship and as part of the long-term agreement, Stellantis and Amazon will be putting thousands of BEV ProMasters on the road every year.
Source: The Detroit News