Why you still see the Dodge name in a Ram
|Larry P. Vellequette covers Chrysler Group for Automotive News.|
DETROIT -- It's been almost two-and-a-half years since Chrysler Group's controversial decision to split off its Ram truck brand from Dodge in October 2009.
The two brands now have different executives, different marketing teams, different messaging, different signage, different everything.
But while it might have been easy to take the Ram out of Dodge, apparently it hasn't been so simple for the automaker to take the Dodge out of Ram.
For the 2012 model year, the five letters of the pickup line's former brand remain prominently stamped atop the center stack of even the newest and most upscale Ram pickups -- like an ex-wife that keeps her former spouse's surname after the divorce.
The same was true for the 2011 and 2010 model year pickups, though it might have been somewhat more understandable, given the short time frame. Whether it stays there when the 2013 Ram pickup debuts this spring remains to be seen.
If you listen to Chrysler Group executives, that stamped "DODGE" is as out of place in the pickup line as if it said "Jeep" or "Chrysler" or even "Plymouth" across the little center stack tray.
The brand split -- ostensibly to allow Ram to more cleanly market commercial vehicles such as a coming line of commercial vans -- stripped the Ram's head from other Dodge vehicles. And while the pickup line also maintains an earlier version of the Dodge crosshair, it hasn't updated it as other Dodge vehicles have.
But for dealers and consumers, the center stack branding oversight is probably much ado about nothing. For those that sell and buy Chrysler Group pickups, it may say "Ram" on the doors and tailgate, but DODGE is likely to stay stamped on their memories for some time to come.
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at firstname.lastname@example.org.