Ram: Fleet pickups and mpg to drive retail sales
DETROIT -- Chrysler Group will pitch the re-engineered Ram 1500's improved fuel economy when the pickup goes on sale this fall, said Bob Hegbloom, director of the Ram brand.
He also plans to use commercial fleets to expose potential customers to the pickup. "Typically, the guy that drives that [work] vehicle every single day doesn't own it. He doesn't care about that product," Hegbloom said. "He's going to beat it every day, and if it delivers day in and day out, he's going to tell his friends" that it is worth consideration.
For Hegbloom and dealers trying to boost Ram sales, the struggle lies in changing long-held opinions. Ram's market share through May is 18 percent, up two percentage points from 2011 and the highest for Chrysler's pickup lineup since 2003.
But the pickup sales pecking order -- Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge/Ram, GMC, Toyota, Nissan -- has remained unchanged for a decade.
"The highest loyalty in the industry is within trucks, and on top of that, consumers brag about their trucks," Hegbloom said. "What happens is that, as those individuals brag about their vehicles, it makes it very difficult to switch down the road."
Chrysler's marketing focus in the Ram launch will be on fuel economy, even though the automaker won't yet divulge the re-engineered Ram's mileage rating. It will only boast that the 2013 Ram will be "best in class."
The 2013 Ram 1500, introduced at the New York auto show in April, features fuel-saving technologies paired with a new powertrain: Chrysler's 3.6-liter V-6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Chrysler also improved the truck's aerodynamics with active grille shutters on the nose and a suspension that lowers at cruising speed, and by extending the step bars so that they run from the front tires to the rear ones.
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