NHTSA Investigating 1 Million Ram Pickups, Dodge SUVs for Rollaway Risk
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investing nearly a million Ram pickup trucks and Dodge Durango crossovers over complaints registered against the rotary dial transmission shifter. The complaints allege vehicles roll away after being parked and point to the rotary electronic shifter as the culprit.
The news comes from Automotive News, which says FCA is cooperating with the NHTSA over the concerns. The NHTSA says it has reports of 25 crashes and nine injuries from owners claiming their vehicles rolled away after being parked. No deaths have been reported in relation to the rotary shifter issue. That is in contrast to FCA’s previous electronic shifter issues. Most notably, “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin was killed when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his steep driveway, pinning the 27-year-old against a brick pillar of his security fence in June of 2016.
Unlike the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300, the Ram trucks and Dodge Durango in question uses the rotary dial rather than the joystick-like gear shifter. However, this now puts both versions of FCA’s electronic shifter into question.
The NHTSA is specifically investigating the 2013 through 2016 Ram 1500 pickup and 2014 through 2016 Dodge Durango. Both vehicles are equipped with the ZF-scoured, eight-speed automatic transmission that requires an electronic shifting mechanism. The rotary shift knob was designed by FCA.
Jaguar Land Rover also uses the same transmission with a similar rotary knob. The NHTSA is including roughly 39,000 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF vehicles within its investigation after seven reports of rollaway crashes. Four injuries were associated with the reports. The affected model years include the 2012 through 2014 JLR products.
FCA is urging owners of these vehicles to set the parking brake before exiting the vehicle. We’ll bring you more information as we have it.
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Ram Reportedly Delaying Updated 2500/3500 HD Pickups
series trucks are staying around a bit longer, according to a report. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had originally planned an all-new version for the 2018 model year in line with similar changes taking place with the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup that same year. Now it seems FCA will only move forward with the Ram 1500’s extensive update, while only bringing a mild refresh for the heavy duty models.
The report comes from Automotive News, which cites sources close to the Ram HD’s development. It’s said Ram will only update the current, DS-based Ram HD’s exterior and interior, rather than giving it a complete refresh from the ground up. The 2018 model year will see such extensive improvements with the DT-based Ram 1500, however.
Reasons behind the delay include FCA’s current lack of expendable cash for R&D and retooling for the Ram HD’s Saltillo, Mexico assembly plant. FCA is already spending billions in revamping its Sterling Heights and Warren Truck Assembly Plants to accommodate the upcoming influx of new SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. Adding Saltillo and the Ram HD to the list simply isn’t feasible – at least according to the report.
This comes days after FCA’s Jeep division postponed development and production of its Grand Wagoneer – a high-class luxury SUV that competes with Range Rover and wears a $130,000 price tag.
Hopefully FCA will experience a boom in SUV and crossover sales to account for its vast investments. That influx in cash would certainly help fund future developments at the Ram and Jeep divisions.
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Jeep Grand Wagoneer “Placed on Hold,” Sources Say
News about the future Jeep Grand Wagoneer has gone from promising to problem-ridden over the last month. Reports have suggested Jeep is canceling the high-end SUV for good, while others suggest nothing is wrong. Well, word has just surfaced from two different third-party parts suppliers that Jeep in putting the Grand Wagoneer project on hold.
The news comes from Larry Vellequette, a reporter with Automotive News whose dedicated beat for the last decade has been Chrysler and now FCA. He reports the luxo-Jeep isn’t officially dead, but it isn’t alive and well. The major problem, according to Vellequette, is FCA’s very limited cash reserves. FCA is currently funding a company-wide game of musical chairs and retooling with its assembly plants. Vehicles are being moved around, plans are getting refurbished, and this is eating into cash reserves.
Also a major factor is the limited size of vehicle that’s capable of being produced at FCA’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. It currently builds the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, but anything larger, say like a three-row Range Rover competitor, simply wouldn’t fit down the assembly line.
Vellequette makes an interesting observation though. Why retool Jefferson at great expense for a low-volume SUV rather than build a high-volume, body-on-frame SUV that competes with the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition? Why not base that SUV on the upcoming refreshed Ram 1500? It’s certainly an idea worth exploring.
Ram has never made a three-row SUV based on its pickup despite GM and Ford having outstand success with the concept. Should Jeep choose to pursue this, the Grand Wagoneer name would likely drop the “Grand” portion, recalling the more utilitarian Jeep Wagoneer of 1974 through 1983.
Should Jeep go this route, it could even create a heavy-duty version, competing where the Suburban 2500 and Ford Excursion once did. What’s more, it could even create a Rubicon or Trailhawk version based on the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Best of all, FCA would need far less cash to pull this off. The Ram’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant could accommodate the 1500-series Wagoneer, while FCA’s Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico could accommodate the heavy-duty and Power Wagon versions.
Of course, this is pure speculation on our part based on speculation by Vellequette. One thing is for sure though – Jeep will not be getting its Grand Wagoneer by 2018 or 2019.
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Did You See Ram’s Thanksgiving Day Commercial?
Ram Trucks aired a deep, thought-provoking commercial on Thanksgiving Day, honoring the unsung heroes of the blue-collar class. Called “Praise,” the 90-second TV spot mentions things hard-working folks commonly be thankful for – and some things that aren’t generally though of. One string of poetry reads, “Praise the line worker and the line, praise the foreman and the floor, praise the second shift early Saturday, praise the candle lit at both ends…”
The commercial aired during NFL football games on CBS and FOX on Thursday, November 24, 2016. It combined with Ram’s heavy appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade earlier that day. For two years now, Ram has been the official truck of the Macy’s Parade where 25 Ram trucks pulled the floats down the crowded streets of New York City.
“Praise” isn’t the first poetic commercial Ram has produced that targets blue-collars. Ram debuted “Farmer” during the 2013 Super Bowl – an iconic and picturesque two-minute piece with moving images of farmers hard at work mixed with the original reading of famed radio host Paul Harvey’s “And God made a Farmer” speech.
Ram also appealed to women in its 2015 TV commercial, “Courage.” The spot contained motivational words about harnessing inner strength and prevailing against the odds, with imagines of conquering the elements of Mother Nature and the inner demons of self-doubt.
Don’t count of “Praise” being the last heart-felt commercial we see from Ram. These spots seem to be garnering tons of attention and acclaim. Let up know what you think in the comments below.
2017 Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport
Launched side-by-side with the 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Mojave Sand package at the 2016 L.A. Auto Show, the 2017 Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport model is a limited-edition truck with tons of bright colors, decals, black accents, and a surprisingly customized interior meant to appeal to the more “expressive” truck buyer. This thing ain’t quite – that’s for sure.
The Ignition Orange Sport is based on the Ram 1500 Crew Cab with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and eight-speed automatic in either 2WD or 4WD.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Ignition Orange package before, though. Ram introduced the special edition for the 2015 model year. That truck had many of the same features that’s on the 2017 model, including the bright orange paint, the matte black hood graphics, blacked out badges, and orange accents throughout the interior. For 2017 though, Ram dumped the bright aluminum wheels in favor of glossy black 20-inch rollers that match the other black accents around the exterior.
The Ignition Orange Sport also lives up to its “limited edition” branding. Ram will only produce 1,500 examples. Prices are not terrible, however, with the Ignition Orange 1500 starting at $43,740. That includes the Crew Cab truck, the Hemi V-8, and all the bespoke Ignition Orange parts. What’s more, that’s actually $70 less expensive that the 2015 Ignition Orange model.
There’s more information about the truck further down, so keep reading for an in-depth look into Ram’s 2017 Ignition Orange Sport package.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport.
Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport Shows Its Orange Side In LA
Ram has went to the trouble of putting together a couple of nice, limited-edition models of its 1500 lineup for the L.A. Auto Show. The first example was designed from the Ram Rebel and featured an exclusive Mojave Sand exterior finish. Then there’s the model you see here that is called the Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport, a model that is bright as it could possibly be on the outside with a heavy contrast of black in all the right places. The whole package is based on the 1500 Crew Cab Sport with a Hemi and will command a price of $43,740. But, before you start thinking about the cost, let’s take a better look at what the package presents in terms of uniqueness and aesthetic pleasure.
If you’re a fan of Orange, you’re probably having a continuous eyegasm right now, and that’s okay. As you can see, this 1500 is layered in one of the brightest orange’s we’ve ever seen called Ignition Orange. But, there’s also some pretty serious contrast going on, including the black decals on the Sport performance hood, the black Ram’s head bad on the radiator grille, a black tailgate badge, and black badges on the sides as well. The other major selling point of this limited edition is the body-colored grille surround that is normally either contrasting the body color or finished in chrome on most models (Ram 1500 Express and 1500 Sport both have body-color grilles as well.)
Inside, you’ll find a healthy dose of Copperhead accent stitching to go with Sport embroidery on the seats, Ram’s head embroidery on the seat headrests, and colored sport mesh wrapped around the seat inserts. There are also anodized orange-painted spears and trim rings to round off the interior package. Needless to say, the truck actually looks pretty amazing, but it doesn’t exactly come cheap. Assuming this model is two-wheel drive, that $43,740 price tag is a little hefty, considering the standard Sport model with two-wheel drive, Hemi power, and a six-foot box goes for a total of $37,215. That means this limited-edition comes at a premium of $6,525. This limited-edition model, along with the Rebel-based Mojave Sand 1500 is already making its way into dealerships, but if you want one, you better hurry; there will only be 1500 examples created for this limited run.
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2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Mojave Sand
When Dodge converted the Ram name into its own brand, there was a period of uncertainty as to what would happen with the line of pickup trucks. But, the new brand really didn’t disappoint, developing some of the nicest trucks there are on the market that just look outright sexy. On top of that, each trim level is different in its own way, making the choice to purchase any given trim a very personal decision. When it comes to the Ram 1500 lineup, there are a total of nine different trims ranging from the classic-looking (by classic I mean circa 2004) Big Horn, all the way up to the range-topping Ram limited that is powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi as standard and could quite possible end a marriage with its $52,000 price tag. But, the Ram 1500 range is growing a little bit with the introduction of some special edition models like the one you see here, the Ram 1500 Rebel Mohave Sand.
Based on the Ram Rebel, the Mojave Sand package brings an exclusive exterior finish to go with a special hood and roof decal and a very sleek and carefully appointed interior. It should start hitting dealerships in December of 2016, but if you like what you see, you need to move quickly as only 1,500 examples will be produced before the Ram calls it quits with this package. If you don’t get to the dealer in time to get one of these models, not all is lost as there is also a Ram 1500 Ignition Orange Sport Package that could suit your special-edition.
But, before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the Rebel Mojave Sand Limited Edition and look at all the sandy details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ram 1500 Rebel Mojave Sand.
2017 Ram Power Wagon
The Ram Power Wagon is probably the brawniest truck on the market. It comes built on the Ram 2500 HD Crew Cab and boasts industry-exclusive off-road tech like solid axles, all-terrain tires, a manual transfer case, a disconnecting front sway bar, and a 12,000-pound Warn winch – all from the factory. Now for 2017, Ram is giving the Power Wagon a makeover courtesy of the Ram 1500 Rebel.
The Power Wagon’s front mug now wears a grille first seen on the Rebel, the Ram 1500’s most dedicated off-road trim package. New graphics on the Power Wagon’s sides, tailgate, and interior match the new snout.
While the looks might be different, the Power Wagon’s greasy bits are unchanged. This means the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission, 4WD system, frame, and suspension carry over from 2016. Of course, no one can complain about that – well, perhaps besides that the Power Wagon doesn’t offer the Cummins turbodiesel as an option. Thanks to the placement of the Warn winch, the Cummins’ intercooler won’t fit behind the bumper. That aside, the Power Wagon’s powertrain lives up to hype, generating impressive horsepower and torque numbers.
Also carrying over unchanged is the Power Wagon Tradesman trim level. The contractor- and feel-oriented truck uses all the same hardware, but foregoes the Rebel grille and showy graphics package. It’s all business with the Tradesman.
So what’s the 2017 Power Wagon all about? Keep reading for the full run-down.
Update 11/10/2016: Ram has released pricing for the 2017 Power Wagon, which goes on sale in the first quarter of 2017. The Tradesman trim starts at $46,995 and the SLT-based trim begins at $51,695. Check out the pricing section below for more details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Ram Power Wagon.
America Invades Germany: Ram Trucks Drive the Nürburgring Setting World Record
Apparently there’s a lot of Ram Truck fans in Europe. On November 5, 2016, a parade of more than 1,000 Ram pickups drove along the Nürburgring in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record. A Facebook Live video captured more than 45 minutes of passing Rams of various years, many of which dressed up with modifications like LED lights, bumpers, and roll bars.
According to the club that sanctioned the event, Ram World Record, there were 1,152 Ram trucks that participated in the parade. RWR set out to beat Ram’s previous record of 451 trucks set back in April 2015 in Texas.
breaking numbers seems to be contested, though, as Guinness World Records has not updated its website with the event. What’s more, it seems odd that Ram was only able to muster 451 trucks for its record-breaking parade in Texas – Texas. That’s the same state where you’d be able to find at least that many Ram trucks parked at an airport parking garage. Perhaps these European Ram owners are a bit more engaged into the brand.
We reached out to Ram for official word, but until we hear back, take a look at this video. It was shot by Dale Lomas from Bridge To Gantry, a site dedicated to all things Nürburgring. Though he was only a spectator, his video shows (in unofficial detail) the vast number of Ram trucks slowly making their way down the rain-soaked ‘Ring.
Continue reading to watch the video
2019 Ram 1500 Reveals Its Front At Dealer Meeting
Boy, that recent FCA dealer meeting was productive! No less than five Jeep models were shown (in confidence) to members of the automaker’s dealer network and now those secret images are tumbling through the interwebz like boots in a dryer. Now it’s Ram’s turn for exposure. Just hours after dark, grainy images of the future Wrangler and Grand Wagoneer surface, the heavily reimagined face of the Ram 1500 comes to light.
Granted, this is only a rendering, but it’s very likely the design Ram is close to finalizing. It also matches the description of the truck’s design leaked in September by an insider from a third-party supplier.
The truck still carries that high-hood, low-fender styling, but nearly all the details have changed. The grille now features a thick vertical bar with a larger Ram logo, the headlights taper down as they wrap around the fenders, the bumper is far more integrated into the bodywork, the horizontal fog lights are mounted above the tow hooks.
Out back, the taillights have a C-shape that looks darn close to GMC’s taillight design. The tailgate appears to have some deeply stamped metal, with the “R-A-M” scrip likely taking up much of the space.
To be honest, the design looks like a concept truck rather than something ready for production, but that might be the point. This might only be the design concept on which the production Ram 1500 will be based.
Only time will tell if this design will indeed become the next Ram 1500. We expect Ram to make the announcement in the coming months, perhaps even at the LA or Detroit Auto Shows.
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The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results
By now you’ve probably read how the 2017 Ford Super Duty was crowned the Truck of Texas and that the 2017 Nissan Armada won the SUV of Texas. But the Super Duty and Armada were far from the only winners at this year’s Truck Rodeo put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association.
More than 70 journalists and social media influencers descended upon the 1,623-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas to test approximately 71 pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vehicles in TAWA’s annual event.
A total of 17 categories grouped the vehicles with their competition, ranging from compact crossovers and full-size SUVs to Off-Road pickups. Other categories included best connectivity, best technology, and best powertrain.
Keep reading for the full results.
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Ram Appeals to Texans With Lone Star Silver Edition
Ram is adding a special edition to its Ram 1500 Lone Star trim level. It’s called the Lone Star Silver Edition and its new for 2017 and exclusive to the state of Texas. The special edition gets premium upgrades like a new wire-mesh chrome grille, bright belt moldings, chrome mirror caps, chrome wheel-to-wheel side steps, polished 20-inch wheels, and front tow hooks. Of course, special badging on the grille and tailgate help identify the truck.
“The Ram Lone Star Edition is the original Texas truck,” said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand, FCA – Global. “It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the role Texas plays in the pickup truck segment. At the same time, Ram trucks are an iconic part of the Texas landscape. As the longest-lasting truck in Texas, there are literally millions of Ram pickups still on the roads.”
Other unique features include cloth and vinyl high-back bucket seats colored in either Canyon Brown and Light Frost Beige or Black and Diesel Gray. Of course, other options like the front buckets seats with full center console, power-operated moon roof, 32-gallon fuel tank, rear-window defroster, trailer brake controls, the tri-fold tonneau cover, Ram Box bed, spray-in bedliner, upgraded Uconnect with navigation, all-weather floor mats, and the Alpine sound system can be had as well.
Powertrain choices include the 3.6-liter V-6, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, or the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. RWD and the eight-speed automatic transmission come standard in with all engine choices. 4WD can also be had. Cab and bed configurations are limited to the Crew Cab with either the short or long bed option.
The Lone Star Silver Edition will arrive in showrooms sometime within the fourth quarter of 2016 and cost an additional $900 over the standard Lone Star trim. That pushes the base price for the Lone Star Silver Edition to $38,995 plus destination charges of $1,320.
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