New York Auto Show: Ram Truck Brand

By Brendan Moore

The Chrysler media relations people are on a charm offensive here at the show, telling everyone that they are a viable company with a long, prosperous future in front of them.

The cynical among you might say something along the lines of “it sounds like they’re trying to convince themselves more than anyone else”, or, “whistling past the graveyard,” or the other sorts of snarky things overly-cynical people say, but I would expect that from the likes of you.

Anyway, beside the general message of “here to stay”, Chrysler is also endeavoring like mad to make the Ram brand their new truck brand, separate from Dodge trucks, and so is giving all sorts of Ram-branded stuff to the journalists that want it. I demurred, but did get this nifty press release.

Ram Truck Brand Continues to Refine the Boldest, Most Powerful and Capable Lineup on the Planet
– Ram 1500 pickup continues to receive accolades for game-changing design, improved quality, segment-first features, increased capability and best-in-class ride quality
– All-new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups begin to haul in awards
– All-new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs to complete Ram lineup

NEW YORK, March 31 /PRNewswire/ — With a work-hard, play-hard attitude, Ram Truck offers the boldest, most powerful and capable pickup truck lineup in the business.

“Ram Trucks continue to break the rules with big-rig styling, improved quality, durability and capability,” said Fred Diaz, President and Chief Executive Officer — Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Starting with the award-winning light-duty pickup, our Ram 1500; our all-new ultimate towing machine and Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, the 2010 Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty and the all-new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs, our trucks are the best on the planet.”

Introduced in 2008, the Ram 1500 is a game changer in terms of its ability to “outsmart” and “out-tough” the competition with its bold exterior design, crafted and refined interior, engineering excellence, superb innovation and best-in-class features, amenities and ride quality.

The Ram 1500 also ranks at the top of Strategic Vision 2009 Total Quality Index™ (TQI) in the full-size truck segment. According to the survey, the Ram 1500 leads the way with the highest Total Quality score of any truck in the 15-year history of the study.

Customers specifically noted that the Ram 1500 has the best added storage capability along with the best truck interior ever rated by customers.

The Ram Truck brand adds to its award-winning lineup with the recent introduction of its all-new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks. The new heavy-duty trucks provide customers with first-time innovations and features, along with new standards of strength, utility and driveability, building on the Ram’s leadership in the heavy-duty pickup segment.

Ram Truck will further enhance its commercial vehicle presence with the introduction of a “new crew” of commercial-grade work trucks: the all-new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs. Led by an all-new crew cab, the new 2011 Ram Chassis Cabs are built on a proven frame and chassis and engineered for maximum uptime, optimum performance and enhanced commercial capability.

Ram 1500 Pickup
In addition to winning Strategic Vision’s TQI, the Ram 1500 has earned 22 key awards since its introduction. Other awards include:

  • Trailer Boat magazine – 2010 Tow Vehicle of the Year
  • New England Motor Press Association’s (NEMPA) 2010 Winter Vehicle Award – Best-In-Class Pickup
  • American Hunter Golden Bullseye Award – 2010 Vehicle of the Year
  • Automobile magazine – 2010 All-Stars Ten Best
  • International Car of the Year (ICOTY) – 2009 International Truck of the Year
  • Texas Auto Writer’s Association (TAWA) – 2009 Full-Size Pickup Truck of Texas
  • Motorweek – Best Pickup Truck – 2009 and 2010
  • Maxim – Achievement in Party-Enabling Technology (RamBox)
  • Edmunds’ Inside Line – A 2009 Editor’s Most Wanted
  • Edmunds’ Inside Line – Best Full-size Pickup Truck
  • Consumer Guide – Large Pickup – Best Buy for 2009
  • Cars.com – Work Truck of the Year
  • Truckin’ magazine – Truck of the Year
  • Autobytel.com – 2009 MyRide/Autobytel Editors’ Choice Awards – Truck of the Year
  • Ward’s AutoWorld – Interior of the Year
  • Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association – Truck of the Year
  • New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) – Best-in-Class Pickup Award
  • Ward’s AutoWorld – Ward’s 10 Best Engines of 2009 (2009 Ram 5.7-liter HEMI® engine)
  • Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – Best New Pickup
  • AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award
  • Sobre Ruedas – Sobre Ruedas Best Pickup Truck for ’08

For 2010, Ram 1500’s towing capability has increased to 10,450 pounds. Combining Ram’s legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine and the segment-exclusive multi-link coil spring rear suspension, Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) has increased to 15,500 pounds, from 14,000 pounds, with the 140.5-inch wheelbase, 5.7-liter engine and 3.92 rear axle. This increased GCWR equates to an increase in tow rating. This improved rating, along with Ram’s industry-first features and impressive ride and handling capabilities, make Ram the most capable light-duty pickup on the market.

The 2010 Ram incorporates a first-in-segment, multi-link coil spring rear suspension that improves ride and handling without sacrificing payload (as much as 1,900 pounds) and towing capability (as much as an estimated 10,450 pounds).

New interior features include fuel-saver indicator on 3.7-liter models, a new premium Tire-pressure Monitoring (TPM) system and Park-Assist indicator in the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) display.

Other new features include an iPod® Control that connects most iPod-compatible devices using an iPod Control cable. The cable enables iPod devices to be controlled through Ram’s media center radio or steering-wheel radio controls.

New exterior features include available folding trailer-tow mirrors, integrated trailer-brake controller, power trailer-tow mirrors, electro-chromic mirrors and new 22-inch tires and wheels included in R/T package.

Fuel economy enhancements for 2010 include interactive Decel Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO) on all engines. iDFSO turns off the flow of fuel during vehicle deceleration for improved real-world fuel economy without any noticeable changes in engine performance.

The 2010 Ram Crew Cab 1500 features an available first-in-segment RamBox cargo management system that provides weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and drainable storage compartments integrated into both cargo-box sides for effortless access and convenience. The RamBox system includes a bed divider/2-foot bed extender for oversize loads and a rail system with sliding, adjustable cleats for infinitely adjustable tie-down capability.

Ram 1500 is available in a regular cab, Quad Cab and crew-cab configuration and offers three box lengths: 8-foot (regular cab), 6-foot 4-inches (regular cab and Quad Cab), and 5-foot 7-inches (Crew Cab). For 2010, Ram 1500 is available in five distinct trim levels — ST, SLT, TRX, Sport and Laramie.

Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty
Building on the success of their award-winning sibling the Ram 1500, the Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups are starting to haul in their own awards. Since its recent introduction, the all-new Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty has received a number of prestigious awards including Motor Trend’s “2010 Truck of the Year”, Four Wheeler’s “Pickup Truck of the Year,” Four Wheeler magazine Most Influential 4x4s of the Decade (2005-2010 Ram Power Wagon) and the Texas Auto Writers (TAWA) “Heavy Duty Pickup Truck of Texas.”

The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty brings increased capability and innovative new features to the heavy-duty segment with an uncompromising attitude that remains the standard for all full-size heavy-duty pickups.

For 2010, the Ram Heavy Duty is available for the first time in a crew-size cab model, providing Ram with a formidable entry in the highest-volume part of the heavy-duty pickup segment (approximately 50 percent).

Ram Heavy Duty delivers the performance and amenities customers demand. The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty pickups feature a hydro-formed, fully boxed frame with advanced torsional rigidity and stiffness. A coil-spring suspension setup is used up front, while the multi-leaf spring design is maintained in the rear for heavy-duty capability. Front and rear shocks and springs are tuned for optimum ride quality and capability.

Improved suspension tuning and new C-pillar hydro mounts were added to the 2010 Ram Heavy Duty models to improve damping through the frame-bending mode frequency in order to better manage shake and after-shake response. The result is reduced shake, which means an improved ride for the customer.

The new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups offer the only standard exhaust brake in the segment (diesel-equipped models only). This feature reduces brake fade, prolongs brake life and provides confidence and safety when hauling heavy loads on downhill grades. Large front (360 mm) and rear (358 mm) brakes with integrated Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) increase brake life and braking stability.

An available integrated trailer brake control provides better driver control in towing situations. Trailer brake control information is conveniently displayed in the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC), which is standard on all Ram Heavy Duty models equipped with a diesel engine and available on gas SLT, TRX and Laramie models.

Customers in the heavy-duty segment have a range of needs, and most of them involve high levels of capability. The new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 are designed to deliver a total package:

  • Increased Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) on 2500 4×4 crew cab diesel models to 9,600 pounds from 9,000 pounds
  • Increased Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) on 3500 dually models with diesel, auto transmission and 4.10 rear axle to 24,500 pounds from 24,000 pounds. With the Max Tow Package, GCWR increases to 25,400 pounds (late availability)
  • Increased GCWR on 3500 4×2 models to 24,000 pounds from 23,000 pounds
  • Increased front Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) on several models:
    • To 5,500 pounds from 5,200 pounds on diesel 4×4 pickups
    • To 5,000 pounds from 4,700 pounds on diesel 4×2 pickups

Other towing features include improved trailer-tow mirrors with integrated turn signals, memory function and puddle lamps. The larger 7-in. x 11-in. trailer-tow mirrors offer improved visibility with larger convex glass surfaces. The mirrors flip up and out in a vertical configuration for improved visibility around wide trailers. Trailer-tow mirrors are now standard on 3500. As an added convenience, a Class IV receiver is now standard on all Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups.

Ram Heavy Duty towing, payload and axle capacity all have been increased for 2010. Suspension upgrades and larger front-axle U-joints, combined with increased front GAWR, result in increased front weight-carrying capability — a must for larger snowplows.

The Ram Power Wagon also returns for the 2010 model year, equipped with electric-locking front and rear differentials, electronic disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 32-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, underbody skid plate protection, 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing and a custom-built Warn® 12,000-pound winch that is accessible through the front bumper. The 2010 Ram Power Wagon features new exterior graphics and a lower two-tone paint scheme.

Powertrain choices include the legendary 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, which produces 350 horsepower (261 kW) at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque (881 N•m) at only 1,500 rpm.

The most durable and reliable engine in its class, the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel features standard oil-change intervals of 7,500 miles. It also has major-overhaul intervals of 350,000 miles, providing more than a 100,000-mile advantage versus the competition.

The Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel engine uses a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) to virtually eliminate particulate matter emissions and an adsorber catalyst to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by as much as 90 percent, in order to meet stringent 2010.5 diesel emissions requirements.

Ram Heavy Duty’s DPF is a lower cost, lower maintenance alternative to Diesel Emission Fluid (DEF) injection systems to be used by competitors.

The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty comes standard with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engine, delivering 383 horsepower (286 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (542 N•m) at 4,000 rpm. The 5.7-liter HEMI was redesigned for 2009, with several new and improved technologies including Variable-valve Timing (VVT), increased compression ratio, active intake manifold with long runners for low-end torque and short runners for high-rpm power, improved cylinder head port flow efficiency and reduced-restriction exhaust and induction systems.

The all-new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty pickup was born from the same truck family that brought out the award-winning Ram 1500, Strategic Vision’s Quality Award Winner.

The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty includes all-new styling, offering a tougher, more capable look with improved aerodynamics and fit and finish. To accommodate cooling requirements of the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, the new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty grille opening is larger than the light-duty grille. The larger grille mates to a taller hood that incorporates louvers on each side. Access to the front winch (on Power Wagon models) and tow hooks led to the unique front-bumper design.

The new dual-rear-wheel fenders (3500 dually only) are now integrated into the box stamping and offer a smooth aerodynamic appearance.

Ram 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab
Ram continues to enhance its commercial presence with the introduction of a “new crew” of commercial-grade work trucks: the new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs. Led by an all-new crew cab, new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs are built on a proven frame and chassis and engineered for maximum uptime, optimum performance and enhanced commercial capability.

Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs compete within the Class 3-5 segments with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,200 to 19,500 pounds and are targeted at small-business tradesmen, fleet customers and traditional chassis cab users.

The 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs offer the largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons), largest front-brake rotors (390 mm) and calipers (66 mm) on the 4500/5500 and a standard diesel-exhaust brake.

Offered in regular cab, crew cab, single-rear-wheel (3500 only) and dual-rear-wheel models, four cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 108 and 120 inches) are available for 4500/5500 models, and two cab-axle lengths (60 and 84 inches) are offered for the 3500 model. Three trim levels are offered: ST, SLT and Laramie.

The 2011 Ram 3500 models feature two axles with three axle ratios (3.42, 3.73 and 4.10) and 17-inch wheels, while Ram 4500/5500 models have one axle with three axle ratios (4.10, 4.44 and 4.88) and 19.5-inch wheels. All Ram Chassis Cab models are “Job Rated,” meaning they are designed, engineered, tested and built to meet rigid standards of commercial truck buyers.

Improved standard features include a six-speed manual transmission, increased GVWR (13,000 pounds from 12,500 pounds on 3500 diesel model), an EVIC integrated into the instrument cluster, four upfitter switches, increased alternator size on diesel (180-amps), automatic headlamps, an upgraded HEMI engine, second-row headrests and rear heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts.

Ram’s “new crew” of trucks are built on a road-tested, proven commercial-grade frame and suspension system with best-in-class frame steel strength (50,000-psi). Maintaining its common architecture for commercial applications, the one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail’s riveted crossmembers provide more durability than traditional welds or bolts. In addition, rivets allow for easy removal and/or replacement of components during upfits and modifications.

Maximum upfit-friendliness is achieved with industry-standard 34-inch frame-rail spacing and flat, clean frame rails on a proven one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail boasting 50,000-psi steel strength (best-in-class for 3500 model). All chassis components are below the frame surface allowing easy adaptability and versatility for virtually any upfit application.

Further improving upfitter-friendliness, new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs feature four all-new upfitter switches integrated on the instrument panel. Each of these four upfitter switches are linked to an auxiliary Power Distribution Center (PDC) located under the hood, which includes one fused 20-amp battery feed and one fused relay-controlled 20-amp ignition.

The legendary, proven 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel is the benchmark for reliability and performance. The engine, optional on Ram 3500 models and standard on 4500 and 5500 models, offers best-in-class low end toque and generates 305 horsepower (227 kW) at 2,900 rpm and 610 lb.-ft. (827 N•m) of torque at 1,600 rpm. Inherently reliable with fewer moving parts than competitive V-8 diesel engines, the Cummins engine delivers best-in-class fuel economy (4500 and 5500 models) and ensures commercial capability, durability and low cost of ownership. With the Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel, an optional 3.42 axle ratio is available on the 2011 Ram 3500 Chassis Cab for improved fuel economy. Customers with serious trailer-tow needs will enjoy Ram 3500’s new optional 26,000 lb GCWR on 6.7-liter diesel manual trucks with a 4.10 axle ratio.

The 6.7-liter Cummins features a factory-installed segment-exclusive exhaust brake. The Cummins design works with the Variable-geometry Turbocharger (VGT) and offers multiple benefits including reduced brake wear and longer brake life, which may lengthen service intervals, and enhanced safety benefits including increased braking effectiveness and greater control of the vehicle.

The 6.7-liter engine is cleaner, with a reduction in particulates and nitrogen oxide (NOx) that comply with both 50-state heavy-duty emission standards and 2010 diesel emissions compliance thanks to an all-new diesel exhaust fluid injection system with urea injection Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) technology.

Cummins diesel-equipped chassis cabs are in full compliance with stringent new emissions-at-idle laws, with the distinction that Ram is the only brand to offer a 50-state emissions package and exterior label allowing drivers to idle without time restrictions in California and other Air Resource Board (ARB) states. This is a no-cost option.

The new 2011 Ram 3500 Chassis Cab comes standard with a new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with Variable-valve Timing (VVT) that will appeal to customers who require a gas engine. Providing more power and torque with better fuel economy, the engine incorporates a 9-percent higher compression ratio (10.5:1), Variable-valve Timing and an active intake-manifold. These technologies, combined with engine and powertrain integration improvements, result in a 4 percent improvement in fuel economy, improved idle quality and overall refinement. HEMI-powered 2011 Ram 3500 Chassis Cabs are rated at 383 horsepower (286 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. (542 N•m) of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Completing the package, Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs offer a proven six-speed Aisin automatic transmission (complete with a 3-year/180,000-mile warranty) with Power Take-Off (PTO) capability or a six-speed manual transmission with PTO capability. The proven commercial-grade six-speed automatic is a completely electronically controlled transmission that features excellent shift quality (using advanced electro-hydraulic clutch-to-clutch control) and close gear ratios with static and mobile PTO capability. With outstanding shift performance and more control, the six-speed manual transmission achieves a high-ratio sixth gear for longer highway cruising. An available electronic-shift transfer case is offered also on SLT and Laramie models.

The Aisin six-speed automatic transmission includes two significant enhancements to the PTO function. The torque converter locks up in PTO mode for better fuel economy and speed control while using aerial lifts and air compressors. Customers also have the ability to program a precise engine RPM that is activated immediately when the PTO is engaged. This eliminates the need to toggle up to the desired engine RPM.

For the 2011 Ram 3500 Chassis Cab, larger front axle U-joints were developed, and front GAWR was increased on diesel trucks to 5,500 pounds from 5,200. This results in increased front weight-carrying capability, allowing the use of larger snowplows.

Engineered to deliver precise feel and response for better handling, the new 2011 Ram Chassis Cab’s steering and suspension system boast superb strength with a focus on improved load capacity, increased durability and refined handling. Two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models feature a recirculating ball system that provides precise response and an on-center steering feel through lower internal friction.

Featuring solid front and rear axles and a five-link, coil-spring front suspension with solid axle, a front and rear link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are standard. The rear suspension on two- and four-wheel-drive models is equipped with leaf springs and includes standard two-stage springs as part of the design for greater load-carrying capability and better ride with light loads.

Large external mirrors are new for 2011, giving drivers a more useable area while improving aerodynamics and minimizing wind noise. Larger, 7-in. x 11-in. mirrors for trailer towing are standard. Mirrors flip up and out into a vertical configuration for trailer-tow use.

Interior design elements include a balance of work truck functionality and, as desired, refined, upscale comfort. Interior comfort and convenience features include all-new heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, memory functions, automatic temperature control, express-up/down windows and upper and lower glove boxes. Redesigned seats are significantly more comfortable with more surface area and improved lumbar and lateral support. Interiors feature soft-feel door bolsters and armrests and one-piece molded door panels. The center stack is designed for optimum placement of controls in the most intuitive and comfortable locations.

Storage is top-of-mind for those who use their truck as an office. A new-for-2011 available center console features an upper bin that is large enough to hold a laptop computer (with an accessible power outlet) and a lower bin that accommodates hanging files. In addition, the console offers several other storage compartments.

Other storage locations are built into the instrument panel, front and rear-door panels and seat backs. Upper and lower glove boxes provide a total of more than 800 cubic-inches of storage.

With a network of more than 400 dealers, Dodge BusinessLink features dedicated commercial account managers and sales teams, priority next-bay service and maintenance, extended hours, free loaner vehicles and inventories with a higher mix of work trucks and commercial vehicles. Dodge’s “On The Job” program offers discounts on upfits, cash incentives and other customer savings.

About Ram Brand
With a work-hard, play-hard attitude, the Ram Truck brand offers the boldest, most powerful and capable pickup truck lineup on the planet.

The Ram Truck brand will add to its award-winning truck lineup with the introduction of the all-new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks, Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. The new heavy-duty trucks provide customers with first-time innovations and features along with new standards of strength, utility and driveability, building on the Ram’s leadership in the heavy-duty pickup segment.

Introduced in 2008, the Ram 1500 is a game changer in terms of its ability to “outsmart” and “out-tough” the competition with its bold exterior design, crafted and refined interior, engineering excellence, superb innovation and best-in-class features and amenities. The Ram 1500 also ranks at the top of Strategic Vision Inc.’s (SVI) 2009 Total Quality Index™ (TQI) in the full-size truck segment. According to the survey, the Ram 1500 leads the way with the highest Total Quality score of any truck in the 15-year history of the study. Customers specifically noted that the Ram has the best added storage capability along with the best truck interior ever rated by customers.

The Ram Truck brand will further enhance its commercial vehicle presence with the introduction of a “new crew” of commercial-grade work trucks: the new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs. Led by an all-new crew cab, the new 2011 Ram Chassis Cabs are built on a proven frame and chassis, and engineered for maximum uptime, optimum performance and enhanced commercial capability.

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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