Ram readies for growth
Riding an impressive wave of success with a 10 percent gain in market share during the past five years, Ram truck boss Reid Bigland outlined his plans to keep the division on a fast track. While providing few specifics, Bigland confirmed that the Ram 1500 pickups will get a minor updating for 2015 with their heavy-duty Ram 2500/3500 counterparts receiving a similar mid-cycle refresh in 2016. The process will then repeat but on an even deeper level, with the Ram 1500 family set for a full makeover in 2017 and their brawnier siblings to get an equally comprehensive recasting in 2018. According to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, that generational changeover also could see far greater use of weight-saving aluminum in the body panels and various other components.
ProMaster City On Tap
Here in America, the Ram Commercial operations will add a new ProMaster City model in early 2015. A rival for the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200, this compact van is based on the extremely successful Fiat Doblo model sold in Europe. The larger Ram ProMaster alternative, based on the equally successful Fiat Ducato van, will see a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel added to the U.S. powertrain menu for 2015. Like the Ram Heavy Duty pickups, the Ram Chassis is facelifted in 2016 followed by a major redesign of the Ram Commercial Light Duty in 2017 and full remakes of the Heavy Duty Commercial Trucks and Cab Chassis in 2018.
Bigland is quick to point out one thing that won't change during the next five years is Ram's commitment to continued innovation. Features like an 8-speed automatic transmission, class-exclusive 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine in the Ram 1500, Active-Level 4-Corner Air Suspension and the RamBox Storage system have helped make Ram the fastest-growing truck brand in the U.S. It's also allowed it to develop a buyer base that's younger and more affluent than owners of Ford and GM full-size pickups
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