Next Generation Ram 1500 Coming in 2018
Ram’s fourth generation pickup has been around since the 2009 model year. Its body style and interior have changed very little since then, though the truck doesn’t seem dated. Nevertheless, it’s time FCA bring a new generation Ram to market, and according to sources divulging information to Automotive News, it seems Ram is on the fast track to delivering the
series truck for the 2019 model year.
According to the AN report, FCA has restructured the way Ram’s design and engineering teams work. An emphasis on speedy decision-making and approval has dramatically shortened development time. A decision that would normally take weeks to get approved through middle and upper management is now being done in days, and in some cases, on the spot. This move comes from surveys taken by FCA’s third-party suppliers who report lost time and experienced inflated costs due to poor communication and lost time within FCA brass.
Ram’s move to push production through as quickly as possible falls in line with FCA’s new focus on trucks and SUV over sedans. With the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 ending production due to slow sales, the Sterling Heights Assembly plant outside Detroit will soon undergo a retooling, expanding FCA’s production capabilities for body-on-frame vehicles. What’s more, Ram’s recent announcement regarding its expanded sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will necessitate greater production volume – something Sterling Heights will likely facilitate.
Corporate news aside, let’s take a look at what AN’s inside source says the future holds for the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500.
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Ram May Build A Midsize Pickup After All
The 2016 Geneva Motor Show was a whirlwind of activity, but in the midst of bespoke hypercars and one-off concepts, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters that the automaker is currently investigating the addition of a midsize pickup truck to the Ram Trucks brand.
“We’re looking into it,” Marchionne said. “I have a keen interest in getting it done. The big question is whether it should be body on frame.”
This is big news in two ways: first and most obvious, FCA is exploring the midsize category; and second, that internal debates still rage on whether the pickup will ride on a traditional ladder frame or a more
like unibody design. Besides being of interest to gearheads and engineering types, the frame choice has much to do with how the future truck is marketed and used.
The future midsize truck market will be fairly evenly split. The Chevy Colorado, its GMC twin, the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and upcoming Ford Ranger will represent the traditional truck with their body-on-frame designs. In the other corner, the Honda Ridgeline and upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz will ride on unibody structures borrowed from their respective crossover lineups.
While FCA may still be deliberating, it seems like the Ram brand would benefit more from a traditional truck. It could even borrow the ladder frame design from the upcoming Jeep Wrangler – a vehicle that’s also slotted to receive a midsize pickup version.
Despite the consumer demand and Marchionne’s wantings, the CEO still believes a midsize truck would be a risky business case. Marchionne said he suspects Chevrolet makes less profit on each Colorado because manufacturing costs are likely similar to the full-size Silverado, but the Colorado sells for less. Whether his assumption is true remains unknown. Nevertheless, he says, “I think it’s a good place to be. Ram needs to expand its lineup.”
Those are pretty affirmative words from someone known for expanding business. Our bets rest on Ram releasing a body-on-frame midsize pickup – perhaps wearing the historied Dakota nameplate – by the decade’s end. That would put Ram in a good spot to compete against a growing field of contenders.
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Next Ram 1500 Will Go Hybrid
Fiat Chrysler are planning a hybrid version of its popular Ram 1500 full-size pickup truck once the truck enters its next generation for the 2018 model year. The news comes as FCA makes headlines over its revised five-year plan that includes ending production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans. CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed to Automotive News that FCA will be making room in its factories for more crossovers and SUVs – a move that is counter to what many automakers are doing in preparation for the looming CAFÉ standards of 2025 and 2050.
However, FCA’s plans for a hybrid Ram 1500, along with other hybrid crossover and SUV models, is the automaker’s path to achieving the government-mandated CAFÉ benchmark. While meeting CAFÉ is obviously imperative, the automaker sees this move as appealing to current market trends and inexpensive fuel – both of which FCA says it views as “permanent” trends.
Market forecasts aside, FCA says it is developing new global small- and medium-engine architectures, along with 48-volt mild hybrid systems, for placement in its upcoming vehicles. Included in the bunch are the next-generation Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler.
Further details beyond that are not currently known, but it’s expected that an updated version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will debut, boasts a higher compression ratio and more efficient exhaust-gas recirculation system. FCA’s current eight-speed automatic transmission will continue, along with the proliferation of Start/Stop systems in each vehicle. We also expect the Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to receive efficiency updates as well.
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Since the death of the Ramcharger in 1994, Chrysler has been noticeably absent from the full-size, body-on-frame SUV game. That may change with the next generation of Ram pickups, however, as Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, mentioned the possibility of a large SUV during an interview with Automotive News.
The full-size SUV segment is “the near-exclusive use of some other [automakers],” Marchionne said. “We have a reasonable chance of getting at least part of that market.” He continued in saying, “I think we have a unique opportunity with renewal of the pickup line, with the powertrains we selected, to significantly increase output. We will also be exploring, as a result of that investment, some other segments.”
Marchionne didn’t elaborate what other segments he was referring to, but did confirm the proposed SUV would not compete with the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV.
The CEO confirmed FCA is exploring the possibility of a full-sized SUV in response to other popular models like the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition – models that continually help their respective automakers earn double-digit profit margins. According to AN, these body-on-frame SUVs tend to be the most profitable vehicles sold on a per-unit basis.
There’s no further word on what FCA, or more specifically, Ram would call the SUV, but the automaker does have a rich history of names to choose from. Also obscure is the timeline in which FCA plans on rolling out the new model, or if ever. More in-dept studies are most assuredly planned, helping FCA brass to decide if the venture is worth the investment.
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The first 2016 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty has just rolled off the assembly line at Fiat Chrysler’s Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico. This marks the first Ram truck to offer a stump-pulling 900 pound-feet of torque from its 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel. Configured with a regular cab, long bed, and 2WD, the Ram 3500 HD can pull a segment-leading 31,210 pounds via a bed-mounted fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch.
The first truck to roll off the line, however, was one of Ram’s most luxurious models, the Mega Cab fitted with the Laramie Longhorn trim. The high-ranking trim offers customers a swanky place to sit with a western design that has become increasingly popular among truck buyers. The trim brings such amenities as dual zone climate control, heated seats, a large TFT driver information screen in the gauge cluster, an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, and of course, those brown leather seats.
The 2016 model year also brings changes to the range-topping Laramie Limited trim. Like with the Ram 1500 series, heavy duty Rams get a unique grille with an X-style design that showcases the R-A-M logo front and center. It is a big departure away from the crosshair grille Ram (and previously Dodge) was known for. Still, the new look is fresh brings new life to the truck’s appearance.
Ram has not announced pricing for the 2016 Ram Heavy Duty, though it’s expected to remain close to the 2015 prices. That means the base Ram 3500 will start around $32,000. Opt for all the bells and whistles, and the truck easily exceeds $60,000. Expect the 2016 Ram trucks to arrive at dealers this fall.
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Ram’s main man Bob Hegbloom has seemingly put the nail in the Dakota’s coffin. He says the numbers just don’t add up for Ram to reenter the midsize truck game. And it’s all to do with higher fuel economy.
Hegbloom began with a history lesson during in his interview with Automotive News, saying the 1980s were the heyday of midsize trucks because they offered less capability than a full-size, were considerably smaller, less expensive, and more fuel efficient. “I’ve been able to develop a strategy to come up with three of the four,” he says, but having achieving all four isn’t possible. He continued saying, “even with what’s out there on the market today, I haven’t seen anyone who can deliver on all four.”
Adding to Hegbloom’s thoughts, it’s thanks to tougher crash test standard, customer expectations of content, and capability, that the old-school midsize truck is a thing of the past.
What’s really the sticking point is fuel economy. In order for an automaker to achieve what today’s customers consider “incredible fuel economy,” it would raise the truck’s price. A diesel, for example, is more expensive to buy than a gas-powered truck, therefore eliminating the price advantage for going with a smaller truck. “If you do that,” Hegbloom says, “you also have the expense that goes along with it. Now you’ve got a price point consistent with a full-size truck."
Sadly Hegbloom’s reasoning makes sense. That means a Dakota-sized truck from Ram isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. That leaves General Motors’ Colorado and Canyon twins to soldier on with the Tacoma and Frontier.
Note: Dodge Dakota pictured here.
Continue reading to learn why Ram plans no midsize truck.
It appears Fiat is developing a midsize pickup truck that slots above its compact Strada pickup. The news comes as our spy photographer captured these shots during a recent cold-weather test session. What’s more, it’s very likely Ram is in the mix, helping its Italian brother develop a strong competitor against the global Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Hilux.
The general suspicion is this vehicle is the production version of the Fiat FCC4 concept seen at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show. That far-fetched concept was more of a design study, so expect if any of its wild features make it to production, they will be heavily toned down. I say Fiat’s truck will fall in line with its competition in the design department.
Regardless of looks, the main question at hand is whether Ram will take advantage of the partnership and bring the truck to the U.S. The midsize Dakota has been dead since 2011, leaving Chrysler out of the midsize truck fight. So will Ram bring back the Dakota? Keep reading for more speculation.
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Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom may have dampened our flaming hope for a Hellcat-powered Ram truck back in October, but embers still burn on the possibility. Remember Hegbloom only said, “At this time, I would say no.” Those first three words are the imperative part. Sure, it is more likely the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be the next Chrysler product to get the Hellcat powerplant as we reported, but that doesn’t mean the Ram isn’t somewhere down the line.
To that end, we’ve created a rendering of what a 707-horsepower Ram truck might look like. It shares many cues from the 2015 Challenger Hellcat and its 2015 Charger Hellcat sibling, including the specific bodywork that denotes the engine. Badging similar to the coupe and sedan also adorns the Ram. Of course bodywork is only skin deep and the Hellcat would necessitate a host of upgrades for a platform that’s only used to a max of 395 horsepower.
This wouldn’t be the first time Ram — or Dodge at that time — has put a ridiculous powerplant behind that crosshair grille. Between 2004 and 2006, Dodge produced the Ram SRT-10 fitted with the same 8.3-liter V-10 that came in the Viper. With 500 horses, 525 pound-feet of torque, and a manual transmission, the SRT-10 was anything but conventional.
So will Ram bite the bullet? Only time will tell, but there sure seems to be a solid case for an SRT-10 successor. After all, Challenger Hellcat owners need something stout to trailer their track car.
Click past the jump to read our speculative look at the RAM 1500 SRT Hellcat.
The muscle car era is alive and kicking at Chrysler these days, and it all surrounds the supercharged, 6.4-liter, Hellcat V-8. So far, engineers and folks with blood pumping through their hearts have convinced the bean counters to drop the 707-horsepower V-8 into the Challenger and Charger and its paying off hugely as Dodge dealers can’t keep Challenger Helcats in stock. But what else could Chrysler throw the Hellcat at?
Unfortunately (for now), the possibility of a Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 truck seems bleak. Car & Driver recently managed an interview with Ram Trucks’ CEO Bob Hegbloom over lunch and the topic came up. His answer? “At this time, I would say no.”
Aha! It’s all in reading between the lines. Even though Hegbloom continues in his statement saying something along the lines of, “[there are] other areas [of Ram’s business] with a bigger opportunity.” Oh, but wait. So perhaps the Hellcat will in fact find its way into other Chrysler products. That makes even more sense when considering the automaker just recently trademarked the name “Trackhawk.” Perhaps this will be a beastlier version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
So while the Hellcat’s next stop might not be the Ram 1500’s engine bay, it seems the truck could be on the list — just further down. As Car & Driver points out, the Ram — or Dodge back then — has a history of insane powerplants. Remember the Ram 1500 SRT-10 with the Viper engine and six-speed manual transmission? We sure do. Hopefully the time will come when Chrysler gives the Ram 1500 SRT Hellcat project the green light.
Click past the jump to read more about Ram 1500.
If you want to update a Chrysler model, then you have to head over to to Mopar and install some aftermarket parts. A good solution, sure, but wouldn’t be nicer to have these parts installed from factory? Chrysler seems to find this a better solution and is now considering of offering a high-performance RAM pickup truck that will target models like the Ford SVT Raptor.
Pat Dougherty, vice president-Mopar parts, said that the company is currently investigating how the Raptor does on the market. If customers start buying it up in high quantities, Chrysler will eventually decide to offer such a model. If the SVT Raptor falls on its face, the company "will continue to do it the way we do it."
RAM currently offers its customers the possibility to customize their models with blacked-out grilles and wheels, all-terrain tires, and a modified undercarriage. But all these changes are made by Mopar and not directly from the assembly line as Ford does with the SVT Raptor.
Chrysler kicked off its new sub-brand, SRT, with the unveiling of the new generation Viper and the cars will just keep coming from here on out. The sub-brand’s second model will be the new generation Barracuda that will join the line-up for the 2015 model year and, according to MotorTrend, SRT is already working on a third model for their line-up.
Details on the third model are a bit unclear at the moment, but it could be either a successor to the Dodge Ram SRT10 or a small, two-seat sports car. Obviously, our hopes lie in a new sports car. Chrysler has already teased us with a Dodge Demon Concept designed as a competitor for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and now that Mazda and Fiat have teamed up to build a new RWD sports roadster, we are hoping that Chrysler will consider offering a production version of the Demon.
Any thoughts on what this new model could be? Hit us up in the comments section below!