Is RAM About to One-Up GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate With Something Even Better at the Chicago Auto Show?
RAM better have a good one up it’s sleeve if it wants to upstage GMC’s new trick tailgateby Kirby Garlitos, on
RAM and GMC have been engaged in friendly bantering over the Twittersphere in the last couple of days, in part due to the latter’s new six-function MultiPro tailgate that’s available on the GMC Sierra. Well, as with Twitter beef goes, RAM is preparing its response to the MultiPro tailgate with the promise of a big reveal on February 7, 2019. What’s so special about that day? It’s the first media day of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show where RAM is expected to unveil its own state-of-the-art, too-clever-for-your-own-good tailgate technology. The full details of RAM’s “new” tailgate are still unclear, but the automaker is confident that it can upstage GMC’s new trick tailgate in front of the entire automotive world. Battle lines are drawn as we wait for RAM’s salvo in two days.
Twitter beef is fun, isn’t it? Provided that the banter doesn’t devolve into any serious mud-slinging, we can all sit back and enjoy it for what it’s worth. That’s precisely what we’re getting from truck brands RAM and GMC since the latter posted a short video last week with the caption, “The Rams already lost,” a reference to the Los Angeles Rams’ highly controversial win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago. That video also included a picture of a RAM tailgate, followed by a short pictorial demonstration of the GMC Sierra’s six-function MultiPro tailgate. Needless to say, RAM responded to the pettiness with its own band of pettiness, calling out GMC for a “flag on the play.” The penalty? A false start. That was followed by an invitation to “check back with us on 2/7/19. That, of course, is a reference to February 7, 2019, which happens to be the first media day of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.
RAM’s hint suggests one clear and inescapable thing. It has a fancy new tailgate of its own, one that it will introduce to the world in Chicago later this week.
RAM’s response immediately puts the spotlight on its own trick tailgate. But the more important question, at this point, is what kind of tricks does this tailgate have that’s capable of stealing the MultiPro tailgate’s thunder?
The FCA-owned automaker is withholding the juicy bits until the reveal, but based on past spy photos and patent applications, we can piece together a picture that can shed light on what RAM has in store for all of us. It’s not easy to theorize on items like this, but we know that RAM filed a patent application for a split tailgate all the way back in 2014. That patent application detailed a gate that could be split down the middle, with a traditional handle on the left-side door. The entire unit can be opened like a standard tailgate, but because of it’s “split” configuration, each half of the tailgate could also be opened independently, either by folding down or swinging out like a door, similar to the tailgate of the Honda Ridgeline, which features a tailgate that swings out like a door. The difference between RAM’s patent application and the Ridgeline’s tailgate is that the latter tailgate can only swing out as a whole, not in two parts.
The nature of the split is unclear, in large part because RAM has tested out different split configurations in the past.
The patent application revealed a 50/50 split tailgate, but a 2020 RAM prototype was caught in the wild in Detroit sporting an unequal split distribution. It was more like 60/40 or even 65/35, at least if you want to be a little more specific about it. Obviously, a split tailgate is a nice little quirk, but Ram really has to do more than that with its new tailgate technology to completely overshadow GMC’s six-function MultiPro tailgate for the Sierra pickup.
Say what you will about GMC’s ambition in the pickup world, but you can’t deny that the MultiPro tailgate is a welcome addition to the brand’s pickup lineup. The MultiPro tailgate is basically two tailgates wrapped up in one. There’s a primary tailgate that can open and close through traditional means. But inside this tailgate is a smaller inner gate that’s hinged within the primary gate panel itself. Depending on your needs, the two tailgate panels can be raised or lower to serve different functions. The inner tailgate, for example, can double as a vertical barrier to keep items from sliding out of the cab. The inner panel can also be unlatched from the inner gate and folded down, creating a wide step that measures 48 inches. The step disrated at 375 pounds, and there’s even a hand grab that can be folded out from the cargo box wall to help people enter and exit the cab. Even features that are inconsequential in tailgate technology are included in GMC’s MultiPro tailgate. That includes using the inner gate as a work surface, which should come in handy when you’re working on or preparing something. Outside of the MultiPro’s evolving tailgate configuration, the whole offering also comes with an in-bed, 120-volt electric outlet and the option to include a Kicker MultiPro Sound System. The latter is an optional accessory, but it might as well come standard given the expectation that most buyers will avail it anyway.
That’s the kind of tailgate technology that RAM has to compete against.
Fortunately, the FCA-owned truck brand is confident that it has a new tailgate that can put GMC’s MultiPro gate in its place.
We’ll know more about RAM’s offering once the 2019 Chicago Auto Show opens its doors to the media in two days. For now, we can expect the debut of RAM’s own tailgate technology. What that translates to will be determined in Chicago.
Perhaps the Twitter beef between these two brands is far from finished.
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