Chrysler seeks business buyers with heavy-duty Rams
- 2012 European Automakers: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen
- 2012 Chrysler-Fiat Future Product
- 2012 Japanese Automakers: Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Suzuki
- 2012 Ford Product Plans
- 2012 Korean and Chinese Automakers Future Product
- 2012 European Automakers: Aston Martin, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Smart, Volvo
- 2012 Japanese Automakers Product Plans: Acura, Honda, Lexus, Scion, Toyota
- 2012 GM Product Plans
DETROIT -- Ram will try to sell more vehicles to commercial customers next year with a new commercial division offering a re-engineered lineup of heavy-duty pickups and chassis-cab trucks, as well as two Fiat-based commercial vans.
Brand chief Fred Diaz said that Ram heavy-duty pickups and chassis cabs will adopt the Tradesman entry-model trim, now only available on Ram 1500 light-duty pickups.
"The light duty was all about mpg, but the heavy-duty, as you know, is all about capability. Those are the two big distinctions between the two," Diaz told journalists here during a Sept. 17 preview of the new heavy-duty lineup.
He said the heavy-duty trucks would have best-in-class towing capabilities, adding that the company would disclose the towing capacities in January at the Detroit auto show.
The reworked Ram heavy-duty pickups and chassis cabs, built on the same platform, will offer a number of new features, some optional depending on the vehicle and trim level:
The 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel, paired with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, produces 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 pounds-feet of torque. The current version of the engine produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 800 pounds-feet of torque. The 6.7-liter diesel engine will require urea treatment of its exhaust to reduce smog.
The standard 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gasoline engine delivers 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and up to 400 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 will be newly available in Ram 3500 pickups.
The redesigned frame is constructed from high-strength steel with an optional fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch mount, a plate on the frame under the cargo bed to which hitches are attached.
The new direct air intake, called Ram Active Air, for the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel boosts air to the engine when it is under load and at higher altitudes.
Revised steering and suspension systems to increase payload, frontal load and towing capacities.
The front-axle disconnect system that, coupled with a new transfer case, boosts fuel economy by 1 mpg.
The Ram heavy-duty pickups, which will be released in January as 2013 models, will receive a number of new tech gadgets being introduced on the 2013 Ram 1500, including Chrysler's latest Uconnect infotainment system.
An improved tailgate camera will feed images into the cab's optional 8.4-inch screen to assist in trailer hookups, while a new camera mounted high on the rear of the cab will aid those hooking up trailer hitches.
Also scheduled to debut in 2013 are two new Ram commercial vans based on the Fiat Ducato and Doblo now available in Europe. The new vans are front-wheel drive and will compete against the new Ford T series and Transit Connect.
This month, Chrysler trademarked the names Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City, which may be the names for the Fiat-based vans.
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at email@example.com.