Auto blogTue, 06 May 2014 15:31:00 EST
Ram Trucks CEO and President Reid Bigland got his turn among the executives elucidating the near-term futures for brands in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella, laying out the plans for both Ram trucks and Fiat Professional. After Bigland said that the company "will continue to invest heavily in commercial vehicles" for the Italian arm, he didn't give many specifics as to where that investment would go. What we do know for now is that a new Fiat Doblo will come next year - that's the truck we've been catching spy shots of and that will be the basis for the Ram ProMaster City.
In 2016 will come the next-generation Fiorino, a small cargo van sold in markets outside the US as a Fiat, as the Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper. The European and South American markets will also get a new midsize pickup that same year.
Bigland's goal for Ram Trucks and Ram commercial is just a touch more ambitious: "Build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry" and increase NAFTA-market sales from 463,000 in 2013 to 620,000 in 2018. The waypoints along that road include a refresh for the Ram 1500 in 2015 and then a brand new 1500 to come two years later in 2017. Bracketing that, a refresh for the Heavy Duty lineup happens in 2016, and two years later it will also get an all-new generation.
If you were tired of seeing Batman get all the cool cars while your favorite superhero was left to his own considerable devices, you may have been intrigued when Chrysler unveiled a special Ram Power Wagon last summer. Tied in to the premier of Man of Steel, the unique truck packed a blueish-grey vinyl wrap (textured like Superman's outfit), gloss-black accents, anodized red trim, 17-inch alloys and an interior decked out with Superman logos.
It was a nice tribute to the superest of superheros, but Ram only made the one, and it wasn't offered for sale. That is, at least, until now. With the movie's debut now long behind us, the one-off Power Wagon is being auctioned off to benefit LA Family Housing, a charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged families in Southern California.
Citing our favorite car site, the online auction page places the donated vehicle's value at $112,674, but bidding as we go to press currently stands at $47,500 with three days remaining. Head on over to Charity Buzz to help out a worthwhile cause and give yourself the chance to get your hands on a one-of-a-kind vehicle and piece of cinematic history.
Some recalls we report on are bigger than others. This one involves a big vehicle, but only 159 of them. No, not 159,000. Just 159.
The vehicle in question is the Ram 1500 - specifically the 2014 model, and more specifically than that, those made over the course of 12 days in late January and early February of this year. According to the statement below, Chrysler was notified by one of its transmission suppliers that a small shipment of gearboxes might have difficulty shifting into Park.
Although the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker says it is unaware of any accidents or injuries having resulted from the issue, and has not received any specific complaints, it is notifying the owners of the 159 trucks in question to bring their pickups in for service and, if necessary, to have the entire transmission replaced.
The Ram ProMaster only introduced itself to US buyers - prognathous jaw first - last year, but it might quickly be the recipient of some plastic surgery. Above is the new face of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, which does duty as our ProMaster, the Citroën Jumper and the Peugeot Boxer and will be officially unveiled on May 12. Its face still slopes forward all the way to the bottom, but the distance and weight of the jutting chin has been greatly reduced by curving lines that more artfully integrate the new three-piece bumper with the sheetmetal. That bumper can be had in two colors, and the front end also gets new, sleeker headlights with LED DRLs.
Trims are named Classic, Tecno and Lounge, and all benefit from ESP, a new underride guard and an upgraded cockpit with touches like better seats, Bluetooth and a clipboard that can be affixed to the dash and is robust enough to hold smartphones and tablets. High-zoot options - which would give the ProMaster better fight against the Mercedes Sprinter if they carry over to our market - include lane departure assist.
The Ducato will come with choices of three roof heights, four lengths and eight capacity ratings. You'll find info on that and much more in the press releases from Fiat and Peugeot below, and we'll find out more about how the ProMaster will benefit in a few weeks.
The newest Ram Power Wagon is arguably the most imposing vehicle to be shown at the 2014 New York Auto Show, boasting a number of new aesthetic features, as well as a new graphics package.
Ram added a 6.4-liter V8 as an optional engine for 2014, but in the Power Wagon, it's the sole powerplant, boasting 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. An equally robust six-speed automatic backs up the brawny engine, while 4.10 gearing, an 11.5-inch rear axle and electronically locking front and rear diffs come standard.
A new five-link coil rear suspension and Bilstein monotube shocks should deliver a pretty comfortable ride, while the Power Wagon's off-road ability is complemented by the new Articulink system on the front suspension, which offers electronic sway-bar disconnect. 33-inch Goodyear rubber comes standard.
Fans of off-roading and desert blasting might recall that Chrysler offers an aftermarket conversion that can turn a Ram 1500 into a road-legal desert racer, called the Ram Runner. The kit, sold through Mopar, includes some significant suspension upgrades, body tweaks and a brawnier cat-back exhaust for the truck's 5.7-liter V8.
Considering all of this, comparisons with the almighty Ford F-150 SVT Raptor are common. Among the off-road community, that makes these two a sort of Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang for people that prefer driving on dirt. In the Race-Dezert forum, the discussion as to which truck was better was proceeding as normal - Ram fans said their piece and Ford fans said theirs. Then, a man named Kent Kroeker offered up his two cents.
See, Kroeker is a Baja racer, and the man that helped develop the Ram Runner. Despite his association with the truck, though, he had some less than kind words for Chrysler and the Ram Runner.
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 19:05:00 EST
"The 2014 Ram Power Wagon fills a need for those who travel into extreme terrain for rescue or recreation." - Reid Bigland
More, more, more. That's the philosophy behind the latest Ram Power Wagon. The extra-brawny, Ram 2500-based pickup is back for 2014, and naturally, it's even more extreme than its predecessor.
General Motors isn't losing the pickup war without a fight. With the Silverado narrowly falling to third place in the truck segment in March, Chevrolet has announced that it is going to continue its Truck Month pricing through the end of April. In addition to those incentives, some Chevy pickups are going to see even deeper discounts, according to Automotive News.
General Motors Sales Reporting spokesperson Jim Cain says the reason for extending the sale is simple. "It worked," he said. The Silverado's sales were up 6.8 percent for March, which is a big win for a truck with sales down 7.6 percent for the year so far. "Last month we handily beat expectations," he said. Cain attributed the success to having "a simple, straightforward message." He also claimed that the pickup was also able to see growth with lower incentives than competitors. With the weather warming and the economy improving, he thinks the Silverado has the momentum to improve further.
The Truck Month incentives knock as much as $7,541 off some Silverado models, and Chevy is planning even more incentives on top of that in April. "Okay - time to take the gloves off and go back and take back what rightfully belongs to every one of you ... Silverado truck sales," said an email sent to dealers from GM's district manager in the Northeast, received by Automotive News, announcing lower lease rates.
If you liked the Black Express package Ram offers on its 1500 light-duty pickup but need the added capability of a Heavy Duty model, we've got good news for you.
This week at the Atlanta International Auto Show, the Ram truck brand is rolling out the Black package for the Ram HD 2500 and 3500 SRW. It features a sinister-looking exterior with 20-inch alloys, fog lamps, grille, front and rear bumpers and badges all blacked out. All the body-side badging has also been removed, unless you go for Cummins power, in which case you still get a chrome diesel badge on the side.
In correspondence with Autoblog, Ram spokesman Nick Cappa explained that the popularity of the Black edition light-duty truck was the impetus for the Heavy Duty edition you see here. "Ram has a reputation for going further on design and custom-looks from the factory," explained Cappa, pointing towards the Express, Sport and Longhorn editions. "This type of forward design-thinking led us to extend the aggressive appearance to the HD trucks, which in the past has been a bit more subtle."
Recently released automotive March sales figures point to a major shakeup in the pickup world. Last month, Ram's trucks overtook the Chevrolet Silverado to become the second-best selling vehicle in the segment for the first time ever.
The Ram pickups outsold the Silverado by 285 units in March. Chrysler shifted 42,532 trucks for the month compared to 42,247 for the Chevrolet fullsize. According the Allpar, this is the first time either Dodge or Ram's pickups have outsold Chevy in a month, and the Bowtie has held down the second place spot in the pickup market since 1978 when Ford took over the top spot. The F-Series remains the market's king, with 70,940 sales in March and 173,358 sold since January.
The results may only be a blip. From January through March, Ram has sold 96,906 trucks versus 107,757 for the Silverado. One month of sales figures isn't enough to call this a trend, but it's certainly an interesting data point.