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Dodge Delays Major Changes to Ram Until 2017


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Photo credit: MSVG / Flickr

There are some who say that you can never have too much of a good thing. Others argue that without regular progress, there can only be stagnation.

Only time will tell if the Fiat Chrysler executives’ decision to delay major upgrades to the Ram line of trucks is a good idea. But, with current sales exploding from year to year, it seems that plans for the Ram are right on track.

Changing Faces

In 2013, there were a couple big changes for the Ram brand, originally owned by Dodge. On April 15 of last year, according to Automotive News, Tim Kuniskis took over management of the Dodge brand from Reid Bigland.

Bigland, who also heads sales for Chrysler in the United States and Canada, took control of the Ram division, which was established as its own brand in the Fiat Chrysler lineup in 2009. When Bigland left, sources within Dodge reported that the division would not be adding any new vehicles to its lineup until 2015 at the earliest.

But, in managing Ram as its own brand, Bigland now has big plans in the works.

Sales on Fire

The Ram has been out of Dodge since 2009. But, it is already clear that creating a new brand for Ram was a successful business decision. Since 2009, Autonews reports, the Ram has added 10 percentage points to its market share of truck purchases in North America. The actual numbers are even more impressive.

In 2013, Bigland noted that sales of Ram trucks jumped from 257,000 to 463,000. That is an increase of 80 percent. Bigland credits the improvements made to the Ram 1500 in 2013 with the leap in sales. Motor Trend reported that the most striking change to the 2013 Ram is actually related to technology, not the structure or function of the vehicle.

Adjustments to the Bluetooth connection and the addition of Internet hotspot capabilities make working on the road far simpler. But, Bigland argues, people like the Ram because they vote with their wallets. With gas prices on the rise, people who need a truck want one with the best fuel economy around. And if the truck will also tow 9,200 lbs while getting great gas mileage, that is just another plus.

Big Plans

Waiting for a redesign in 2017 does not mean that Ram plans to leave things as they are. For 2015 and 2016, the system will get a simple refresh. For 2013, Car and Driver noted that the truck’s improvements were minimal, with a new interior, and some additions to engine options.

But, Car and Driver sees big things in the works for the Ram in 2017. The truck has decent fuel economy, but is still heavy compared to the all-aluminum Ford F-150. Cutting down the Ram’s weight may improve gas mileage even more. From a sales standpoint, Autonews reported, Bigland says that the Ram’s commercial lineup is where growth needs to happen.

The Ram ProMaster, released last year, immediately grabbed 18 percent of the market share for professional cargo vans. To improve the Ram’s market share even further, Bigland intends to increase the number of commercial Ram dealers from 332 to 900.

Just when you think things make sense, people decide to change things up. While the Ram has a lot going for it right now, improvements will continue as Reid Bigland and Ram keep working to make the brand even better.

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