Chrysler convinced it will increase market share with a crew cab in the lineup for 2009.
Diesel and hybrid versions of the new Dodge Ram will be available a year after the launch of the all-new full-size pickup, confirms Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand and SRT marketing.
A Cummins diesel comes first in the light-duty truck, followed shortly afterwards by a Ram with the two-mode hybrid system from the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. The Ram gets the new powertrains in 2010 for the 2011 model year.
The new Ram does lend itself to a performance version, but the time is not right, Accavitti says. The old Ram SRT10 in the past was iconic and well-loved by its small, enthusiast demographic. But higher gasoline prices today make it a cruel environment for performance pickups which have a small market at the best of times, Accavitti says, even though SRT buyers love their vehicles and usually won’t let fuel costs stand in the way of enjoying their chosen ride. “Under the right circumstances I could see it,” Accavitti says, “I’m just not sure if [today] is the right environment for that.”
The other question is whether a Ram SRT would continue again be fitted with the 8.4-liter V-10, or take a calmer route with the larger 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 or a turbocharged or supercharged 5.7-liter Hemi. Accavitto only says the automaker does not have a supplier working on a supercharger for the Ram at this time.
The all-new 2009 Ram launches this fall. Pricing has not been finalized, but is expected to range from about $20,000 to more than $40,000.
Real Crew Cab Will Increase Market Share
The Ram has almost 17 percent of the pickup market now, and Accavitti says that will increase significantly now that Dodge has a “right-sized” crew cab in the lineup. In the past it had the Mega Cab that did not fit in a garage and the super-sized truck was so big it had to ride on the heavy-duty Ram platform. Chrysler thought it had a better mousetrap with the Mega Cab, but it did not prove to be the case. Accavitti expects the new conventional crew cab to account for 50 percent of sales, “so we can say with confidence we will pick up share.”
Powertrains include a 3.7-liter V-6 which the automaker expects to get at least 20 mpg, but testing has not been completed. There also is the choice of the new 4.7-liter V-8 launched last fall, or the upgraded 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 offering 380 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. Engineers say with the multi-displacement system, the additional torque will allow the engine to spend more time operating on just four of the eight cylinders, resulting in better mileage. The expectation is 10–20 percent better fuel economy.
The other main improvement is abandoning leaf springs for a new coil-spring, multi-link rear suspension. Engineers say there are no compromises to towing capacity, payload, or any other performance matrix, and the new suspension is 40 pounds lighter. To help those who tow, the new truck offers both four-pin and seven-pin trailer wiring connections. And a trailer-tow camera, nicknamed “the marriage saver,” will be available a few months after launch.