Ram is brand. According to the new Ram CEO Frank Diaz, the Ram was “overshadowing” Dodge’s non-truck products… never mind that Dodge’s truck-cued car styling made that phenomenon unavoidable. There’s not much to say about the new Ram brand, except that it will include pickups, heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles (read: no SUVs), marketed with the usual John Wayne, hard-working, never quit attitude. Think of any truck ad you’ve ever seen, and you’ll understand everything there is to know about Ram’s branding.
There are a few interesting developments on the product plan front though. Though a Ram hybrid is set to debut next year, that appears to no longer be a done deal. Over lunch, Diaz explained that more work has to be done to determine demand and price point. But he did confirm that a diesel will be offered in the Ram 1500 at some point, and that several competing firms are still in the running to supply this engine.
Despite all this uncertainty regarding efficiency improvements in the Ram line, the Dakota will be cut in 2011. Or, as Diaz puts it, it won’t be replaced. A unibody midsized pickup (presumably along the lines of a Honda Ridgeline) is being considered for a 2011 rollout, but Diaz wouldn’t hint at a platform donor. More tellingly, he admitted that it would be difficult to engineer such a vehicle to the point where it could maintain the new Ram brand image.