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.