By on April 7, 2010

Chrysler is celebrating the Ram’s continued sales slide (relative to last year’s pathetic numbers) by plastering a 100 foot-wide Ram Heavy Duty on its headquarters, along with a final confirmation that Motor Trend really does serve as Detroit’s marketing department of last resort (as if such confirmation were needed). But hey, at least they gussied up the Auburn Hills digs to celebrate something other than the promise to continue foisting sub-par products on the buying public through the year 2107.

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33 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Grasping At Straws Edition...”

  • avatar

    How much did we pay for that banner?
    On second thought, I probably don’t want to know.

  • avatar

    Eh, well. At least it is a straw. If it is legit, then plaster it. Have to provide some reason to go to work other than having a huge Italian flag on the building or a picture of Sergio.

    In and around Spokane, Washington people drive TONS of Chrysler or Dodge products. Why this is could be a subject of demographic study or a lack of reading Consumer Reports. The funny thing is these people still act like they are driving an “all American” product and have no idea what that strange sounding “FIAT” word means.

  • avatar

    Your comment about Motor Trend would imply that nobody could possibly like anything made by Ford, GM or Chrysler. I subscribe to MT, C&D and read this blog and find MT to be the only one that seems to give the Americans a fair(er) shake. They don’t shill for the Honda Accord like C&D and aren’t always proBMW. In fact, unlike C&D, they actually compare cars that are more closely configured (except for this month’s comparo of a 335i against an A5 2.0T, an others). MT used to be an organ of Detroit and I stopped reading it, but that’s a long time ago and it’s a different mag today.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 Audi, I also keep picking up on the anti-Motor Trend vibe on this site, even though they are the most un-biased car mag of the bunch. MT doesn’t use just one author’s impression of any car/truck/suv tested for the x-of-the-year competition, but rather factor in multiple opinions, stats, price, etc, etc. Dodge won this round fair and square.

  • avatar

    ‘Mission Accomplished’

  • avatar

    The only time I read Motor Toones is when I’m in my dentist’s reception room(with luck, no more than twice a year). MT has always read like it was simply a press release from the auto manufacturers. The fact that so many of their COTY choices have turned into complete failures has, in my opinion, turned the award into an inverse indicator of a vehicle’s success. I don’t know of anyone who takes this exercise in automotive PR seriously anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. Here are some highlights of MT’s COTY over the years:

      1997 Chev Malibu
      1997 Chev Caprice
      1990 Lincoln Town Car
      1983 Renault Alliance
      1980 Chev Citation
      1974 Ford Mustang II
      1971 Chev Vega

      I could go on, but these are among the worst. I still read MT at the drug store from time to time, but couldn’t be bothered to plunk down the money for it. Having said that, the Ram is a decent truck, and I think the interior improvements put it ahead of Ford and GM in that department.

    • 0 avatar

      It was a 1991 Caprice. I’d like to know what you find at fault with that generation of Caprice because when that questions asked most people respond with “It looks dated”.

    • 0 avatar

      I know we are in full domestic bashing mode today, but I really want to get one of those MT’s COTY 1997 Caprice’s. I should get top dollar at the Barret/Jackson when you consider GM stopped production in 1996.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah it was the 1991 Caprice LTZ. Don’t see many B body 1991 -96 Caprices on eBay but you do see the Roadmaster well represented. Or as my father liked to say, “Road-Blaster.” He knew it would be the thing for gobbling up miles of hwy.

    • 0 avatar

      Ahh, I remember distinctly when the ’91 Caprice dropped. The last iterations weren’t too bad looking, but bou it was polarizing to a lot of the fanbois…

      I think my favorite quote of the day was “GM has not built a vehicle for the mainstream, it has built a vehicle that looks like it belongs in a stream…”.

      Pretty easy to build into a 9-sec street car though.

    • 0 avatar

      I really don’t see a problem with the 1990 Town Car. It was a nice improvement to the design, presevering everything that was right about full-size Lincolns while ushering them into a more modern age. The best of the breed is the final year for that bodystyle, 1997. I’d take a clean, low miles 1997 Townie over an MKS any day…at least the Town Car makes no pretenses about it’s mission and what it is – an unabashedly American luxury car.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps when you and the other commenters say “read”, you really mean “look at the pretty pictures.” If you read MT, they tell you up front that COTY is NOT a comparison test, but recognition given to the car that year that raised the bar. Now, I can’t quite figure out how the ’97 Malibu, the ’90 Town Car or the Renault Alliance could move *any* bar, let alone raise it, but just like this site, it’s their opinion – take it, leave it, or as I do, weigh it in with other opinions, including my own.

  • avatar

    Lets see. We give Consumers Reports a pass for bashing everything American made. Yet you pick on Motor Trend for picking a great truck. Maybe they should have picked a Honda Ridgeline, now there is a real truck.

    • 0 avatar

      Just make sure you get an auxiliary trans cooler for that Ridgeline before you try to do anything truck-like with it.

    • 0 avatar

      And make sure you get a flat tire with a load of soil or gravel in the back. This way you can shovel out your truck to get to the spare.

      Can’t say that I’m a fan of the modern Mopar, but this is a good truck. If only their cars were as good as this Ram, a new whipping boy would have to be found.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Isn’t the Truck of the Year just the newest kid on the block, and this year, that went to Dodge?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyle Schellenberg

      That’s always my sense with COTY/TOTYs. A model has to be extensively revised in order to even be considered to win. At that point, it’s the best of what’s available which may be slim pickins. A real award would compare all models revised or otherwise.

      I recently received American Standard’s Dump of the Year award, but you don’t see me hanging a banner on my bathroom door.

  • avatar

    I agree with some of the posters that have said that the Dodge Ram won the award fair and square. I have sat in and driven a 2009 Ram 1500, and its interior was amazingly nice and well done. I had to keep checking to make sure I was sitting in a Chrysler product.

    I mean, I know this site likes to bash Chrysler, but we have to give credit where it is due, and the current Dodge Ram is one of the – if not the – best fullsize pickups on the market.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree – have any of these folks considered driving the product before they bashing it? Is it so inconceivable that Chrysler could actually build a decent product? Now that Count Daimler has moved on to a new host to bleed dry, maybe Chrysler can get on with actually spending some money to revise their products and bring them up to snuff. If the new Ram (both light duty and heavy duty) is any indication of what Chrysler is capable of going forward, then maybe the future isn’t so grim after all. Sheesh…what a bunch of negative nellys…

    • 0 avatar

      The new Ram does have a pretty nice interior, although I can’t say its heads or tails above a top trim Ford or Chevy. It is a very nice improvement over the previous Dodge.

      The problem with giving it the best fullsize pickup title is that truck buyers who buy their trucks for work and trucky things know better than to go with the Dodge. Whether it’s a half-baked coil spring rear suspension that leads to the truck leaning hard with a full load in the back around corners, less than ideal reliability reputation, a flimsier frame than won’t stand up to the abuse that a Ford or Chevy will, or transmissions that have a knack for blowing head gaskets, the Ram has a lot going against it for anyone buying a pickup who isn’t an image buyer.

      If I were buying a truck on the merits of it looking cool, having a cushy ride, being pretty on the inside, and being quick unladen combined with a nice nasty Hemi snarl, the Dodge would top the list, but there is a reason you see 10 old beat up F150s or Silverados on the road, dusty, dented, and darn near worn out for every Dodge you see – the Dodge trucks either never make it that far, or the people who intend to use their truck like that never buy the Dodge in the first place.

    • 0 avatar

      Um, what? Transmissions that have a knack for blowing head gaskets? That makes no sense whatsoever.

      And I don’t get where you come from with talking about how Dodge trucks don’t stand the test of time, nor do they have weak frames. I have seen once in my school’s shop, a 1994 Ford F-250 that was leaning because the shock mount on the frame had snapped off. Yet at the same time, there is that viral story of a 80s Dodge Ram 2500 that skidded half over a cliff, with the frame being the only thing between life and certain death for the occupants of the cab. The frame held, and they were able to be rescued.

      To add onto that, I see beat up Dodge Rams around where I live (Detroit) all the time. I can’t turn my head without seeing ten Dodge Rams, period. In the local junkyard I go to, there are F-150s and Chevrolet C/Ks as far as the eye can see, but it is only every big once-in-a-while that I see a Ram there. To add to that, a 90s Dodge Ram 2500 has been documented to have gone over a million miles. And while I have heard of light transmission problems in 90s Rams, I have never heard of Rams blowing head gaskets.

      Well, thats my Chrysler defense. In my personal experience, the Dodge Ram is no less reliable than any other pickup.

    • 0 avatar

      True, transmissions don’t blow headgaskets, in my head I intended those as two separate comments but my fingers managed to combine them into one.

      You can’t compare models from the 80s to current ones, I have a display in my dealership’s showroom that shows an actual cutout from the frame of an F150, a Silverado, a Ram, and a Tundra. Aside from the Tundra, the Ram is the smallest and thinest of the bunch. The Dodge also makes use of the shortest and thinnest bolts to mount the body to the frame. Add to that the suspension setup and some other design decisions and you get this:

      Granted, this is a Ford sponsored test, but if any of the other manufactures thought they could beat the F150 in real world testing (and not dumb stunts like towing a trailer up a flame-encased spiral or jumping sand dunes at full throttle) why didn’t they?

    • 0 avatar

      And by the way, only the light duty (i.e. 1/2 ton/1500 series) has coil springs in the rear. The HD Rams have proper leaf springs like a good HD truck should.

      It’s really too bad the “personal use” truck market imploded when it did – the gamble on coil springs for the “truck as a car alternative” crowd would have been a smart play had things not gone down the drain. That buyer really valued ride quality and refinement over max capability…the toughest task they would typically ask of their truck was to haul a load of mulch or pull a pair of jet-skis.

      Now that even the light duty market has gone back to the “truck as a tool” crowd, maybe Dodge should come up with a “heavy half” package that adds leaf springs to the half ton truck for buyers who need the capability.

    • 0 avatar


      I guess our opinion of a car manufacturer just goes down to our experiences with them. I like Chrysler, however my dad is a die-hard Ford man, who seemingly grandstands for them all the time. However, from my experience of repairing Fords and learning about their problems, I believe Fords to be poorly designed, cheaply engineered dreck. (I am talking pre-Mulally, of course. I am sure you remember how much of a ruthless bean counter Alexander Trotman was. Ford’s slogan under his tenre should have been, “Cutting costs is job #1. Quality? Yeah, about that…”) My dad on the other hand, thinks that Ford can’t do any wrong since he has had a string of reliable Ford products. (I have only owned one Ford, which was a pile, as opposed to my current Dodge Caravan, which hasn’t given me any trouble). So, I guess a car company can be good or bad based on the experiences we have with their products.

  • avatar

    Of all markets, pickups buyers are the most loyal of all. It would take quite a few years of dirt poor trucks to get a fanboi to consider a brand change. Look at the Tundra. An excellent truck by any measure, yet it has had a hard time breaking into the fold. This is one area where a Japanese nameplate holds no equity in the minds of most pickup buyers. Many years ago the F-150 was one of the most unreliable vehicles tracked by Japa- uh, Consumer Reports. Still sold like gangbusters.

  • avatar

    Listen Howie,

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus saying this is over the top negative. Even if you don’t look up more than one year’s sales data, it is pretty common knowledge than Press was stuffing Rams and stabling $10k checks to the hood last Q1 where Ford and GM were trying to just put enough on the hood to keep some sales. To say that last year’s comparable sales period results were “pathetic” is just flat wrong. They held sales better in Q1 2009 than every other truck mfr – Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota. Since you didn’t seem to go below US Today-level research before blasting Chrysler on this, here’s the data:

    In the first 3 months of US Sales:
    2010 2009 2008 2010/2008 2010/2009 2009/2008
    C 38,042 46,619 68,862 -45% -18% -32%
    F 103,039 81,703 149,265 -31% 26% -45%
    G 96,364 90,518 168,280 -43% 6% -46%
    N 5,669 4,582 11,355 -50% 24% -60%
    T 20,157 18,349 40,784 -51% 10% -55%

    A. 2010 v 2008 is behind Ford’s surge to be sure, but in line with GM and a little behind the segment. Not so pathetic to me.
    B. Would you suggest that they shouldn’t advertise their highest selling, freshest and highest margin product?

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    Some comments about negativity are a bit misplaced. TTAC isn’t saying RAM trucks are poor, they’re pointing out that hocking a Motor Trend advertisement to broadcast the legitimacy of their product is weak.

    I’m no Chrysler fan, but RAM trucks are innovative and are well within the realm of what a truck should be. To me though, these types of awards are so suggestive. For example on this site, I’ve seen ads that modify the GM slogan of “May the Best Car Win” to “The Best Cars Won” with a link to “See the awards”. I won’t bother clicking because it’s just going to be smatterings of positive comments wherever they could rustle them up. Simultaneously you could get Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Ford to come up with their own corral of ‘awards’ to prove their cars are best.

    It’s kind of like movie reviews. When a movie has a quote below saying “One of the best movies of the year. -Doug Yuskowich, Greenwich County Inquirer”, that’s pretty much a confirmation that it’s one of the worst movies of the year. Even reviews by recognized entities that rotate opposable thumbs can’t be taken seriously.

  • avatar

    It’s deserving of the award, and now places the F150 series as the 5th best platform.

  • avatar
    Eric Ethier

    I don’t think that I have ever heard the following statement more often than the last year about a truck: “Personally, I’m a [Insert Truck Brand Here] but that new Ram is awesome!”

    Makes me smile :) Because the new-gen RAMs both LD and HD are at the top of the pack… if not leading. Having driven the competition at least up and down the road (which is what most LD drivers do anyways), it was VERY evident that the RAM is in a class of its own when it comes to ride comfort, and the interior was preferred over the Ford (the rest need not apply) as it looks nice but still ‘truck-ish’. Features galore and the HEMI w/ MDS make the LD RAM just phenomenal.

    The HD Ram does have the right to brag about its 2010 MT TOTY award since it beat the VERY versatile (and quite impressive) Ford Transconnect (although Caravan C/V beats it in most categories except the fact it looks like 8 kids are about to pile out).

    RAM Brand is off to a good start and wishes to continue, and I beleive the massive ad on the building is simply a hype-up to that end.

    The new stuff coming out (at least the Charger/300/GC) seems to be in the same league and I am extatic to see it all!

    P.S. Props to the realists on this forum that haven’t counted Chrysler out of it just yet.

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