Thursday, August 14, 2008

Priced: 2009 Dodge Ram

Chrysler announced pricing today for its new 2009 Dodge Ram. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
The pocketbook-friendly starting price on the '09 Ram, just over $22,000, is cheaper than similar products from Japanese automakers. Pictured is the $44,140 Laramie Ram Crew 1500. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Top-end Dodge Laramie Ram Crew 1500 gets Infiniti audio, uconnect phone technology, six-way power driver seat and leather upholstery, among many other perks. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
INSIDE LINE, AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Even though gas prices have eased a bit in recent weeks, significant pressure is on truck builders such as Dodge to come up with an easy-to-swallow price on their full-size 2009 pickups. Dodge on Wednesday announced that the redesigned 2009 Ram will start at a relatively modest $22,170, including a $900 destination charge, undercutting the outgoing model as well as its mainstay Japanese rivals.

The new Ram, which puts the emphasis on horsepower, arrives in showrooms in the fall.

The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 ST 4x2 with a regular cab starts at $23,050, including a $900 destination charge. The base 2008 Toyota Tundra starts at $23,075, including a $685 shipping charge, while a base 2008 Nissan Titan XE 4x2 king cab starts at $25,170, including a $780 destination charge.

The redesigned Dodge pickup tops out at $44,140 for a Dodge Ram Laramie Ram Crew 1500 4x4 with a 5.7-liter Hemi engine. This trim level includes a power sunroof, power-adjustable pedals, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and Infinity speaker system, navigation system, uconnect phone, bucket seats with leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Dodge also announced that, new for 2009, there is a Ram Crew 1500 model with a box length of 5 feet, 7 inches. The 2009 Dodge Ram SLT Ram Crew 1500 4x2 starts at $32,530; the 4x4 companion model starts at $35,750.

The 2009 Dodge Ram TRX, with such features as an engine block heater, trailer tow mirrors, two-tone exterior paint and side curtain airbags, starts at $30,920 for the TRX Quad Cab 4x2. The top-of-the-line TRX Ram Crew 1500 4x4 starts at $36,895.

Powertrain choices on the '09 Ram include a 390-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and a 310-hp 4.7-liter V8. Also in the engine lineup is a 215-hp 3.7-liter V6. As of Wednesday morning, the EPA had yet to post official fuel economy numbers for the 2009 Ram on its Web site.

As Chrysler backs out of offering corporate leasing, Dodge took pains to note in its pricing material that the Ram is available for "lease through independent sources." But the days of leasing a Ram through the automaker are over.

What this means to you: Dodge tries mightily to hold the line on '09 Ram pricing, but whether consumers will flock to it in droves in an era of high gas prices is still a major question. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

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