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Built-In Bed Ramps: Next Big Thing From Ram?

Built-In Bed Ramps: Next Big Thing From Ram?

It appears Ram Trucks is considering a new and innovative ramp system for its cargo box. The ramp system has just been granted a patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and is technically now available for Ram to use.

The system includes two ramps fitted into two recessed tracks within the cargo bed floor. To use, the tailgate is lowered and the ramps are pulled rearward until their latching mechanism engages a lateral track system running along the leading edge of the tailgate. This secondary track system allows the ramps to move side to side, accommodating a limitless number of wheeled vehicles being rolled into the bed.

What’s more, both ramps are independent of the other, allowing one ramp to be deployed at a time. This would make quick work of loading a motorcycle.

If this system makes production, it would mark Ram’s second major cargo-box innovation, following of course, the popular RamBox. However, there is no word on whether the automaker will implement this technology into the Ram anytime soon. When asked to comment on the ramp system, a Ram spokesman simply said, “[It’s] good to note that a patent does not always lead to a product.”

While it’s true product patents don’t always reach the assembly line, this ramp system would compete very strongly against Ford’s bed-ramp system found in the 2015 Ford F-150. The Blue Oval’s design incorporates removable ramps that are stored on the side of each bed rail and must be lifted into position on the tailgate.

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2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Goes Into Production

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Goes Into Production

Ram Trucks has officially begun production of the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel at its Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. The newest trim level to the Ram fleet, the Rebel offers impressive off-road capabilities thanks to its laundry list of upgraded equipment.

Available in 2WD with the Hemi V-8 and 4WD with both the Hemi and Pentastar V-6, the Rebel offers increased ground clearance thanks to a one-inch suspension lift, 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires, heavy-duty Bilstein shock absorbers, and an upgraded version of the Ram 1500’s air suspension. Of course, tow hooks are standard equipment. Both engine options come standard with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

Beyond the mechanics, the Ram Rebel features a unique grille design, one-off wheels, and a custom interior treatment that signifies the Rebel as something special in the 1500 lineup.

Though Ram says the Rebel does not directly compete with the 2011 Ford Raptor, it does join the mix of off-road ready trucks. The group includes the 2014 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and Ram’s own 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Prices for the Rebel start at $42,790 for the 2WD, Hemi-powered version and increases to $46,370 for the 4WD version with the Hemi. The 4WD, V-6 version splits the gap at $44,720 before options. Customers will have to tack on another $1,195 for destination charges before leaving the dealership.

The Rebel is certainly an interesting combination of a usable truck and hard-core off-roader that will likely do well in the market.

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Pickups Sales Up In May, Except for F-150

Pickups Sales Up In May, Except for F-150

May proved to be an extremely strong month for sales in the pickup truck category. All but three automakers posted respectable gains in year-over-year monthly sales, with the Toyota Tacoma scoring a surprising lead of 26.3 percent growth followed by the Chevrolet Silverado at 10.6 percent. However, Ford’s F-Series posted a 9.7-percent decrease in sales over May 2014.

Ford’s slack in sales can likely be attributed to supplier issues and the gradual rollout of the all-new 2015 F-150. With dealers low on sock, Ford sold some 6,650 fewer trucks than in last May. Those supplier issues boil down to a lack of steel frames on which to build the F-150. However, Ford has announced it will be cutting its traditional two-week summer break down by half in efforts to meet demands of the F-150 and other hot-selling vehicles.

On the flip side, Tacoma sales were up 3,644 units over last May, accounting for the 26.3-percent growth. While the Tacoma has always been a hot seller, the growth is surprising with the revised 2016 Tacoma only months away. The Silverado showed impressive gains as well, selling 4,954 more trucks over May 2014.

General Motor’s new mid-size trucks are also doing well, with the Colorado selling a total of 35,017 units since its launch with the Canyon selling 12,485. Combined, the two trucks have outsold the Nissan Frontier so far this year by a whopping 17,134 units. Nevertheless, the Tacoma is still on top, selling 72,842 trucks year-to-date.

Dragging along in last place is the Honda Ridgeline with a year-to-date sales total of 496. It’s worse when looking at May 2015 sales as Honda sold a mere 26 units – a drop of 98.2 percent. Granted, Honda is preparing an all-new version of the Ridgeline due out in 2017.

While Ford may have posted a decrease in May sales, the blue oval still leads all other truck makers in terms of overall sales, having moved 302,009 F-Series trucks since January. That’s a total of 77,735 units more than the second-place Silverado.

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FCA May Delay Several Model Redesigns Including Ram, Jeep

FCA May Delay Several Model Redesigns Including Ram, Jeep

It seems FCA may be already running behind schedule on its comprehensive five-year plan announced just last year. Reports from the automaker’s suppliers say several models are affected by the delays, which are said to range from a few months to more than a year.

One of the most effected vehicles is Jeep’s upcoming Grand Wagoneer, Jeep’s three-row luxury competitor aimed at the Range Rover. It’s experiencing delays due to its similarity to the upcoming, all-new Grand Cherokee. Initially, the new Grand Cherokee was scheduled for the 2017 model year, but as Reuters reports, engineers are still working on the SUV’s platform. That makes since as the current Grand Cherokee rides on a chassis shared with the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class from the ill-fated Daimler-Chrysler partnership.

Jeep may be working on a more modular design that would easily work for multiple vehicles with various sizes. Traditionally the Grand Cherokee has offered seating for both five and seven passengers, with the third row seats being optional. The Grand Wagoneer will necessitate a longer body, giving Suburban-like room to all aboard.

Jeep is also reportedly pushing back the introduction of the next Wrangler, though only by a few months. Initial plans had the open-top Jeep hitting showrooms early in the second quarter of 2017, but it looks to be July 2017 before that happens.

Also experiencing delays is the next-generation Ram 1500, though to an even lesser degree than the Wrangler. Reuters says the Ram will be pushed from its mid-2017 launch to one in November.

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FCA Cutting Powertrain Warranties, Includes Ram and Jeep

FCA Cutting Powertrain Warranties, Includes Ram and Jeep

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles looks to be cutting the mileage coverage of its powertrain warranty for nearly every vehicle in its fleet, including all gasoline-powered Ram and Jeep vehicles. Since 2009, the automaker has offered a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, but starting on 2016 models, FCA will only offer a five-year/60,000-mile coverage.

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Ram Trucks and FCA Donate $100k To Support Texas Flood Victims

Ram Trucks and FCA Donate $100k To Support Texas Flood Victims

Watch the news and there’s no missing the widespread flooding happening all across Texas. Reports say the flooding and flood warnings extend nearly 800 miles from southern Texas and into Missouri. Thousands have been affected and millions of dollars in damage have occurred. Worse yet, reports say at least 27 people have died and 13 are still missing. Needleless to say, it’s a tough situation.

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FCA Cutting Powertrain Warranties, Includes Ram and Jeep

FCA Cutting Powertrain Warranties, Includes Ram and Jeep

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles looks to be cutting the mileage coverage of its powertrain warranty for nearly every vehicle in its fleet, including all gasoline-powered Ram and Jeep vehicles. Since 2009, the automaker has offered a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, but starting on 2016 models, FCA will only offer a five-year/60,000-mile coverage.

“Following changes already made by competitors, FCA US is adjusting powertrain warranty coverage for 2016 model year vehicles to be more consistent with industry practices,” FCA said in a statement to Automotive News. Those industry practices FCA is referring to was a similar warranty reduction by General Motors back in March.

Thankfully for diesel-powered Ram and Jeep vehicles, powertrain warranties remain at the five-year/100,000-mile mark. FCA’s bumper-to-bumper warranty of three years/36,000 miles has not changed.

Distinguishing between the two, the powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and driveline system while the bumper-to-bumper warranty covers the body, interior, and electrical systems. The cost of repairs made under warranty at a FCA-licensed dealer are covered, meaning owners aren’t paying for replacement parts on their brand-new vehicle because it was defective. As usual, neither warranty covers broken parts due to user error or negligence.

While FCA might be following the standard industry practice, some might argue the automaker isn’t acting in the interests of consumers. Perhaps so, but the bean counters are likely to point out that warranties aren’t always first priority in new vehicle shoppers.

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Ram Trucks and FCA Donate $100k To Support Texas Flood Victims

Ram Trucks and FCA Donate $100k To Support Texas Flood Victims

Watch the news and there’s no missing the widespread flooding happening all across Texas. Reports say the flooding and flood warnings extend nearly 800 miles from southern Texas and into Missouri. Thousands have been affected and millions of dollars in damage have occurred. Worse yet, reports say at least 27 people have died and 13 are still missing. Needleless to say, it’s a tough situation.

Well Ram Trucks and FCA’s philanthropic arm, the FCA Foundation, have announced plans to donate $100,000 to helping flooded communities. “Ram Truck and the FCA Foundation are committed to helping our friends in these Texas communities get back on their feet and on the road to recovering from the devastating floods,” said Bob Hegbloom, Ram Trucks’ President and CEO.

Ram Trucks is also working with the relief The First Response Team of America, a relief group known for its community restoration projects. The partnership extends back to 2012, and since, the automaker has donated more than $300,000 to First Response during similar crises. Ram has also equipped The First Response Team with a fleet of Ram pickup trucks and vans to aid in the process.

Relief efforts will concentrate on home renovations, delivering food and water, and supplying cleaning materials.

Besides First Response Team of America, Ram is also coordinating relief efforts with its “Ram Nation” truck owners association. Ram Nation members are just regular truck guys, but who often come together volunteering time, money, and their trucks to help clean and rebuild after natural disasters.

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Ram Won't Offer A Midsize Truck Because Of Cost

Ram Won’t Offer A Midsize Truck Because Of Cost

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.

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Ram Won't Offer A Midsize Truck Because Of Cost

Ram Won’t Offer A Midsize Truck Because Of Cost

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.

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Ram Announces Debut For Chicago Auto Show

Ram Trucks has announced it will have a product unveiling at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show on February 12. Though Ram’s press release doesn’t give details, we’ve got our suspicions as to what’s coming.

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Ram Ready To Build Rumble Bee Concept Depending on Feedback

Ram Ready To Build Rumble Bee Concept Depending on Feedback

With some notable exceptions, like the incredible Ford Atlas Concept, concept pickups don’t usually move the meter of a lot of people.

But one recent concept that really got our attention was the Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept. It wasn’t just the fancy yellow color or the fact that it had some fancy slick details on the interior; the concept pickup truck really screamed for attention without going overboard to get it.

So imagine our pleasant surprise when we found out that Ram is considering building a production version of the concept pickup. Speaking to Edmunds, Dave Sowens, head of Ram Truck’s light- and heavy-duty marketing, said that the brand will bring the concept to some dealer shows and talk to dealers in an attempt to gauge the interest of a production version for the Rumble Bee Concept.

If there’s a positive feedback from dealers, the company will seriously consider building a production model, albeit one that could be without the Drone Yellow finish and the amber-encased bee on the concept’s rotary gear knob. While we wouldn’t mind the encased bee to be left out, it’s going to be disappointing if Ram drops the fancy color finish that really gave the concept that sparkling attitude that reminded a lot of people of Bumblebee, the Transformers Autobot.

Power is likely to remain the same so expect a 5.7-liter, HEMI V-8 engine that produces 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque, good enough to potentially hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds to go with a top speed of 120 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept

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