One of our sharp-eyed readers managed to snap a few photos of something peculiar while on his way home from work -- a European-market Fiat Doblo van wearing Michigan manufacturer plates.
Given the tie-up between Chrysler and Fiat, seeing the Doblo on U.S. roads isn’tthat strange; especially since there’s a chance this exact van may eventually be sold through Chrysler’s U.S. dealer network. Rumors have long swirled that the Doblo could join the Ram Trucks portfolio, providing the company with a light commercial van that can battle Ford’s Transit Connect here in North America.
European-spec Doblos are offered with the choice of five engines paired to either a five- or six-speed manual transmission. Diesel options range from a 90-hp, 1.3-liter, turbocharged inline-four cylinder to a 135-hp, 2.0-liter turbodieselI-4. The two gasoline-powered options use a 1.4-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four good for 95 hp (120 hp when powered by CNG). If the Doblo crosses the pond, a gas offering may be the only engine choice -- but we think Fiat may have to upsize what’s found underhood in order to appease power-hungry American buyers.
Fiat has not officially said that we will see the Doblo on our shores, but if Chrysler’s five-year plan from November 2009 is any indication, the Doblo would fill the logical spot of a small commercial van produced by and imported from the Fiat Group and slated to be released in 2012. If the Doblo does indeed come to the states, it would slot in beneath the recently introduced Ram C/V Cargo Van (based off the Dodge Grand Caravan) in Ram’s commercial lineup.
What do you think? Should Fiat bring the Doblo here for sale as a Ram? Sound off in the comments section below.