Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information from General Motors on its method of calculating maximum payloads.
Ford Motor Co. is threatening legal action if Ram keeps claiming that its pickups offer "best-in-class" towing.
Ram's response? In so many words, it's telling Ford to go pound sand.
At issue is Ford's claim in mid-July that a 2015 F-450 4x4 Crew Cab pickup can tow 31,200 pounds.
That is 1,200 pounds -- about the weight of a good-sized horse -- more than the Ram 3500's highest towing capacity of 30,000 pounds in a 4x2 Regular Cab pickup. So Ford claims the "best-in-class" towing crown for heavy-duty pickups.
But it's not that simple, thanks in part to the way Ford calculates maximum payload.
Ram says the F-450 and the Ram 3500 aren't in the same class. It says the F-450 is a larger, Class 4 pickup -- in fact, the only Class 4 pickup offered by any automaker.
Ram says the Ram 3500 competes directly with Class 3 pickups -- such as the Ford F-350 and GMC Sierra 3500 -- and outpulls them.
The dispute may seem like just a marketing tug-of-war, but the stakes couldn't be higher. Towing capability is among the top reasons buyers purchase heavy-duty pickups, automakers say. And heavy-duty pickups represent 23 percent of total pickup sales in the United States through June, according to TrueCar.com.
At an average transaction price north of $50,000 for each pickup, billions of dollars in sales are on the line.