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Ram Will Discontinue ProMaster City, Thus Killing the Compact Van Segment

Ram ProMaster City
G'bye, little guy.

What's happening

Ram will stop offering the ProMaster City and Ford will discontinue the Transit Connect, putting an end to the small van segment in the US.

Why it matters

Other small vans, like the Chevrolet City Express, Mercedes-Benz Metris and Nissan NV200, have also been phased out over the past few years.

Compact cargo vans will soon be a thing of the past -- in the US, anyway. On Thursday, Automotive News said Ram will stop importing the ProMaster City van, and recently reported that Ford will drop the Transit Connect from its US lineup. When that happens, the compact van segment will be wiped out entirely.

Ford was expected to shift production of the Transit Connect from Spain to Mexico, but those plans were nixed. Ford will reportedly stop offering the Transit Connect in the US by the end of 2023, but the automaker declined to comment on these rumors, saying it does not discuss speculation. A Ram spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ford offered the Transit Connect as a passenger van and cargo van.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Interestingly, Ford is largely responsible for kicking off the new segment of compact vans in the US, when it introduced the last-generation Transit Connect in 2010. Both cargo and passenger configurations were offered, giving customers a smaller, more functional, more efficient alternative to the company's archaic E-Series vans.

Other automakers soon followed. Nissan introduced the NV200, which was also rebadged and sold as the Chevrolet City Express. The Fiat Doblo-based Ram ProMaster City arrived a couple years later, and Mercedes-Benz introduced the Metris, a reworked version of its European Vito/V-Class van. But now all those vans are gone, with the Chevy/Nissan twins dying a few years ago and Mercedes-Benz recently confirming the Metris' demise.

So where does that leave the US' commercial van market? In the near term, automakers will focus on full-size vans and electrification. Ford recently launched the E-Transit and Mercedes-Benz is developing a Sprinter EV. In fact, in 2021, Mercedes-Benz broke ground on a new vans manufacturing facility in South Carolina specifically to support Sprinter EV production. So while the small offerings might be dead, there's still plenty of life in van land.