Real estate is all about location, location, location, and now the same holds true for the automatic transmission shifter.
Automotive interior designers are choosing new locations and styles for the shifter, which for decades has been mainly in the center console.
The 2013 Ram 1500 pickup is the latest vehicle to experiment with shifter design and location. The re-engineered truck, due this fall, will have a four-stop dial -- P-R-N-D -- mounted vertically on the instrument panel to the right of the steering column.
In addition, the 1500's steering wheel will have two buttons to enable the driver to manually shift up and down through the transmission's eight gears.
Ram brand chief Fred Diaz says moving the shifter controls "freed up valuable real estate" in the pickup's center console, where the traditional gated shifter had been in previous model years.