By on November 4, 2009

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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.

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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.

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29 Comments on “Hi, My Name Is: Ram...”


  • avatar
    FrankCanada

    Iveco Campagnolo – Diesel – 6spd – Convert to pick-up! New Dakota!

  • avatar
    86er

    A unibody midsizer would be a sad capitulation, indeed counter to the image they are attempting to cultivate.

    That said, it seems to be the way things are going. Explorer is going that way soon.

    Another pathetic rollover to the Japanese.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I saw the last table and found 2 interesting things:

    1) Unibody midsize truck to replace Dakota. Reminds me the Comanche. And a concept Dodge made some 5-6 years ago. How is going to be?

    2) Commecial Van: the small and large have respectively Fiat and IVECO written all over it. I guess for the large the IVECO Daily (city, vetrato and dualy) and the other one some kind of the likes of Fiorino/Doblo/Qubo.

    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.

    Then why isn’t the Dakota being replaced/redesigned/refreshed? *facepalm*

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    People always seem to associate unibody with cars that can’t do any “real” work.

    Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Comanche all have one thing in common.

    Unibody.

    That being said, I have no idea what platform they are going to use for this thing, since it appears the most logical choice (the Libery/Nitro platform) will be phased out and gone by the time they make this midsize unibody pickup.

  • avatar
    Mr. Sparky

    Hi, My Name Is: GMC with a Red Bull.

    If Fiat’s plan for saving Chrysler involves copying from GM, they really only need about a 12 month business plan…

    Outside of GM, no one has a stand-alone truck brand. If much larger rivals Ford and Toyota can managed to sell cars and trucks under the same brand, why can’t Fisler?

  • avatar
    George B

    Separating Ram brand from Dodge to make it more valuable in a sale?

  • avatar
    NickR

    As long as their new advertising doesn’t involve the Village People hooting and hollering their way around an obstacle course, I am happy with it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    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.

    Assuming that the rationale here is that gas prices are remaining stable, THAT is a major boo-boo. Small pickup sales are a huge bright spot in the market right now. I mean, fer Chrissakes, even Ford is on track to sell 50,000 Rangers this year, and the design is so old it could buy beer.

    And if they’re trying to capture the youth market, I’d say having a compact pickup might just be essential. Why not just shorten and refine the current Dakota platform, versus abandon the market?

    Dodge…I mean Ram (hoo boy)…is making a massive mistake here, IMHO.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    I’m not a real smart man but I’m pretty sure 50% sales and share growth of 280,000 units doesn’t equate to 410,000 units as the Bernie Madof graph ensures.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    Trees don’t grow into the clouds. Sick, bug invested trees may not make it through the winter.

  • avatar
    Roundel

    They are waiting till 2012 for a Sprinter replacement?
    This will certainly give Mercedes a boost in ganing market share.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Dolorean,
    150% of 280 = 420. Not too far off 415.

    Does it matter whether their projections are off by 5K? Will they outsell Edsel and Tucker? We shall see.

  • avatar

    The Rampage concept that Dodge showed in 2006 was a midsize unibody truck so the idea’s been percolating in Auburn Hills for a while. The Rampage wasn’t a very practical truck as I recall, but it was very attractive.

    Honda’s Ridgeline has unibody construction but that isn’t marketed to pickup truckers.

    It’s a shame that the small pickup market has such slim pickings.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    No more Dakota? What a shame. The mileage of a full size truck, the handling of a Mack truck, the depreciation of a Town Car. Maybe if it was sized like a Colorado and somewhat fuel efficient for a real contractors needs it would be a seller. It wont be missed.

  • avatar
    carve

    Their mini-pickup was too close in size with their big truck. It also has the worst safety ratings on the market. They need to make a simple, tough, reliable truly compact (Ranger/Frontier size) truck for the entry/youth market. Unibody is OK as long as it’s tough enough. Maybe a Jeep Commanche version, too.

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    I very seriously doubt either Einstein or Ali would want to be associated with this boneheaded circus.

    “Dodge: flops like a dead butterfly, and does it for free.”

    Or,

    “D = IT squared, where D = Dodge, I = incompetence, and T = taxpayer money.”

  • avatar
    John Horner

    This re-branding exercise is brain dead. Nissan lost of fortune when they ditched the established Datsun name for Nissan in the US. Acura lost countless sales when they gave up a great name, Legend, and replaced it with “RL”.

    These pointless re-branding exercises make the marketing and advertising people piles of money, but do not improve sales. Usually just the opposite happens, the new brand name under-performs the old one.

    “They are waiting till 2012 for a Sprinter replacement?
    This will certainly give Mercedes a boost in gaining market share.”

    I doubt it. The Sprinter is too expensive for what it is.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Saw the Ram truck commercial last night during the WS. Yeah, typical John Wayne style macho truck commercial. I kept thinking, OK, it’s still a Chrysler product, and therefore still less desireable than Ford or GM trucks. At some point don’t they have to build a better product? Or can marketing solve everything?

  • avatar
    John R

    Einstein in a RAM? Really? Seriously, if Einstein were alive, spry and had his wits about him he’d probably be in a Prius before a RAM. Ali? I dunno, but I’m sure ain’t gonna be in a RAM either.

  • avatar
    Eric Ethier

    Dynamic88: Have you driven the 09/10 Ram? In anyone’s eyes it can at least compete with any other other light-duty full size and in the opinions of many automotive journalists and reviewers, it is the best there is right now.

    Noone really knows how this marketing scheme will play out… that’s why marketing is the tricky business that it is. No matter how good of a product is released, there will be Mopar bashers everywhere. I find most to be ignorant and hiding behind a screen name on the internet. TTAC has some (keyword here is some) users that will use facts and rational opinions in their responses which are very much appreciated and respected, but others simply bash away at every article up here and I know that 90% of those people have never driven these vehicles. Say what you will, but know that jsut because you say it doesn’t mean people believe it…

  • avatar
    86er

    Eric Ethier:

    hear hear!

    It’s bad enough that “pickups” are given the Billy Carter treatment around here, but to have posters, some of whom were heretofore unheard of, use outdated information like “Dakota has bad crash test ratings”, when in fact the new-gen is five star frontal, does a grave disservice to our “Best and Brightest”.

    Like it or not “pickups” are an integral part of the American automotive landscape, and veiled and not so veiled slights won’t change that.

  • avatar
    Eric Ethier

    86er:

    Thanks for the support! Tough to get around here in Mopar-guise.

    I’m not saying that it’s wrong to not like or have negative comments about any vehicle, however comments such as “Dodge: flops like a dead butterfly, and does it for free.” made by an above poster, really show no merit to the conversation and are in fact quite childish. To be honest with you, I agree with alot of statements made here about Mopar vehicles; the Sebring is pretty lame, the first gen Caliber’s interior sucks, and CVT needs alot of work. But that’s not to paint all Mopars with the same brush. the new GC looks absolutely stunning, the new Ram is an incredible vehicle and I would even go as far as to say that the Caliber’s exterior is pretty attractive. Does everyone think the way I do? No. But please use reason when commenting.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Einstein in a RAM? Really? Seriously, if Einstein were alive, spry and had his wits about him he’d probably be in a Prius before a RAM. Ali? I dunno, but I’m sure ain’t gonna be in a RAM either.

    Einstein wasn’t exactly a down-to-earth thinker. He continually wore the same clothes and shoes and his wife took care of the mundane such as balancing the checkbook and paying the electric bill. Mrs. Einstein would probably have liked the Prius over the Ram for its efficiency.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Dynamic88: Have you driven the 09/10 Ram? In anyone’s eyes it can at least compete with any other other light-duty full size and in the opinions of many automotive journalists and reviewers, it is the best there is right now.

    Noone really knows how this marketing scheme will play out… that’s why marketing is the tricky business that it is. No matter how good of a product is released, there will be Mopar bashers everywhere. I find most to be ignorant and hiding behind a screen name on the internet. TTAC has some (keyword here is some) users that will use facts and rational opinions in their responses which are very much appreciated and respected, but others simply bash away at every article up here and I know that 90% of those people have never driven these vehicles. Say what you will, but know that jsut because you say it doesn’t mean people believe it…

    I’m basing my opinion on the trucks we use at work. Chevy/GMC, Ford, and Dodge. The Dodges each need more repair than all the Chevy/GMC and Fords combined. They don’t hold up nearly as well.

    I can scarcely believe there are many journos and/or reviewers that regard Dodge as the best full size truck right now. But even if that is true, I will go with my experience over their opinion. Have them get back to me after using it in snow plow service for four years – it would be interesting to see if their opinion is still favorable.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    these dodge powerpoints have all the skill of a high school/sophomore marketing exercise

    i feel embarrassed for them… Ali and Einstein?

    i can’t help but feel that this is all still rearranging deckchairs on the titanic

    can’t see much way out for the chrysler/fiatsco

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    This is not going to go well. Chrysler spent twenty years trying to establish Imperial as a separate brand but people still insisted in calling the cars “Chrysler Imperials.” Likewise after having devoted a great deal of effort to link “Dodge” and “Ram Tough” in the public mind, it’s going to be near impossible to force people to stop calling them “Dodge Ram Trucks.”

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    I’m not saying that it’s wrong to not like or have negative comments about any vehicle, however comments such as “Dodge: flops like a dead butterfly, and does it for free.” made by an above poster, really show no merit to the conversation and are in fact quite childish.

    Fine, I’ll concede that was a lame attempt at humor. However, unless you’re selling Dodges for a living (in which case I pity you), you can’t seriously be defending their ridiculous “plan”. Aping GM by establishing a truck/ute-only brand while continuing to neglect their cars doesn’t sound much like a recipe for success to me. The only marginally appealing car in Dodge’s lineup is the flawed-but-entertaining Charger, which is only bearable with the optional V8. And don’t get me started on this harebrained “lifestyle marketing” hogwash they’re selling.

    I find most to be ignorant and hiding behind a screen name on the internet.

    You are aware you’re a faceless name on the internet too, right? This is a pointless non sequitur.

    …the new Ram is an incredible vehicle and I would even go as far as to say that the Caliber’s exterior is pretty attractive.

    I will admit that I do not like trucks or SUVs in general. Theoretically, though, if I absolutely had to purchase a full-size truck, I would certainly consider a Ram. I’d have one over a Titan or Tundra any day. But then, I could also have the F-150 or Silverado/Sierra, which is exactly what US consumers decided on instead. The Ram has been stuck in third place behind those two old standards for years now, and the truck market gets smaller by the day. Despite its merits, the Ram has to do at least something better than everyone else instead of playing catch-up if ChryCo hopes to change the status quo. Ridiculous Viper-engined SRT10 packages are not the way to do it.

    @86er

    Not so fast. While you are correct on the frontal impact rating of the current gen, the same vehicle gets a “marginal” side impact rating from the IIHS. Granted, the overall picture for the Dakota is a hell of a lot better than, say, a Ranger.

  • avatar
    86er

    @86er

    Not so fast. While you are correct on the frontal impact rating of the current gen, the same vehicle gets a “marginal” side impact rating from the IIHS. Granted, the overall picture for the Dakota is a hell of a lot better than, say, a Ranger.

    Never said anything about side impact, merely correcting some misinformation I was reading above. You know how these threads always devolve towards the end.

    The NHTSA claims 5 star for side impact; I suppose it depends on who you believe.

  • avatar
    AccAzda

    Commanderfish…

    Cherokee, G.C and Commander have more in common than being just unibody. The great majority of people never actually use the vehicle as intended.. so having a body / design thats a body on frame against a unibody.. has no real advantage.

    But the biggest.. and I do mean BIGGEST problem with EVEN having the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee AND Commander.. in the same showroom.. IS DIRECT competion!

    What exactly is the difference between the three vehicles?
    They all have 5 doors.
    They all have “awd”
    They all have the same “jeepness”.
    They all have the same intended audience.

    SO.. what if they have the same frame…. everything else is the same about them too.


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