Ram makes a power move in heated rivalry with Ford Super Duty

Chrysler has been positioning the Ram brand for rapid growth by boosting fuel economy and towing and hauling capability.
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DETROIT -- The rivalry between Ford Motor Co.’s venerable F series and Chrysler’s hard-charging Ram truck brand is heating up again.

On Friday, Ford claimed best in class power for its 2015 diesel-powered Super Duty pickup with 860 pounds-feet of torque.

But Chrysler today announced that it will offer a 2015 diesel-powered Ram Heavy Duty pickup with 865 pounds-feet of torque -- a bump of 15 pounds-feet over the outgoing 2014 model and 5 pounds-feet more than Ford’s truck.

"Ram owns best-in-class attributes in the areas that are most important to truck customers," Bob Hegbloom, the new head of the Ram brand for Chrysler Group, said in today's statement.

The truck's high-output engine is available on any diesel 2500 or 3500 Ram Heavy Duty truck equipped with the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission. The cost: $2,995 over the regular diesel-powered Ram truck, which has ratings of either 660 pounds-feet or 800 pounds-feet of torque, depending on the model.

GM’s Duramax-equipped heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks are rated at 765 pounds-feet of torque.

Ram is also bumping up the payload capacity of the gasoline Hemi-powered Ram 3500 to 7,390 pounds, which it also claims is best in class. Payload is the amount of cargo that can be hauled in the pickup bed.

Under Fiat control, Chrysler has been positioning the Ram brand for rapid growth by boosting fuel economy and towing and hauling capability and introducing new vehicles, such as the ProMaster cargo van and the upcoming ProMaster City small cargo van, a competitor to Ford’s top-selling Transit Connect. Through July, sales of the Ram brand are up 22 percent over 2013 sales for the same time period.

Ram rolls into the 2015 model year with the industry’s two most fuel-efficient pickups: the gasoline-powered Ram 1500 HFE at 25 mpg highway, and the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel with an industry best 28 mpg highway rating.

Ford is preparing an F-150 SFE [Super Fuel Economy] model that is scheduled to debut late this year. Ford has not announced fuel economy ratings for its redesigned 2015 F-150.

A recent spat between Ford and Chrysler over heavy-duty truck towing claims in advertising prompted the threat of a lawsuit by Ford. However, Ram has not backed off and a spokesman says that it will continue to advertise its best-in-class claims.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com.


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