The Ram Promaster City Was the Last Small Van Left. Now It’s Gone
This year is the last call for the Promaster City, and with its departure, the small commercial van market is gone from the US for now.
After rapid-fire announcements that the Mercedes Metris and the Ford Transit Connect were discontinued, there was only one small van left on sale in the United States: The Ram Promaster City. Automotive News reported Thursday that 2022 is the end of the line for the Ram Promaster City in the U.S.
Predictably, Ram is discontinuing the Promaster City because no one is buying it, and it wants to focus on the development of its future electric vans. The small city-van market "has shrunk every year for the last four or five years, and it's overall become very difficult from a regulatory environment and also from that volume-commitment perspective," Dave Sowers, head of Ram Commercial, told Automotive News. This is similar reasoning that led Mercedes to end the Metris, and it's likely the same line of thought that Ford had when it canceled the Transit Connect. Both of those vans' lineages are ending in 2023; the Ram Promaster City won't even make it that long, as it's getting the ax at the end of this model year with no similar replacement in sight for the U.S. market.
The full-size electric Promaster should be coming in 2023, at least, and while specs for the U.S.-spec market van aren't available yet, its Fiat twin, the E-Ducato, has been out for over a year in Europe. The E-Ducato has two battery pack sizes available (47 and 79 kWh), and the larger capacity van has 174 miles of range in the European WLTP test cycle, which tends to estimate a longer range than U.S. EPA testing does. This would put it in the same ballpark as the Ford E-Transit, which offers 126 miles of (EPA-rated) range, and has seen relatively high demand in pre-orders. Of course, the E-Ducato is still a full-size van.
I've already written about why I don't think full-size electric vans can, or should, serve as a substitute for small vans, and it's worth noting that other markets outside the U.S. are getting another generation of the Promaster City in the form of the Fiat Doblo (aka the Citroen Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo, Toyota ProAce City, and Opel Combo; Europe really loves some rebadged vans). The newest third-generation Doblo even gets a 173-mile range all-electric version in Europe. There could be big Promasters and their little siblings all running around on battery power into the future here in the States, too, but there's been no indication Stellantis intends to bring any future small vans to the U.S. under any name, Fiat or otherwise.
And so I believe I can safely say Americans are at The End of History and the Last (small) Van.