Post-bankruptcy Chrysler’s product plans have had more episodic changes than the Star Wars franchise, and Automotive News has the latest dirt on what’s going on at Auburn Hills.
News of a new Ram performance truck was bolstered by these images released by Ram yesterday, that preview the new model set to be unveiled at this weekend’s Woodward Dream Cruise.
The new diesel engine that is expected to arrive in the Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee (which, we hear, has been pushed back a few times already) has had an interesting life. The 3.0L twin-turbo diesel engine never was intended for Chrysler or Fiat products, but rather, Cadillac.
Before we dive in, let’s get one thing straight. This is not, I repeat NOT a review of the 2014 RAM ProMaster cargo van. Instead I managed to get my hands on a Euro spec Fiat Ducato van for a few days. The Ducato is the basis for the ProMaster, but the ProMaster is more than just a Fiat with a RAM on it. Fiat’s Americanized cargo van might just be the biggest shakeup to the domestic commercial vehicle segment in our lifetime. Why? Front wheel drive, that’s why. Intrigued?
Around the same time that the one millionth U.S. built Kia rolled off a Georgia assembly line, the first Ram ProMaster was being built in a Mexican Chrysler factory. The ProMaster, a revised Fiat Ducato, will give Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealers a large commercial van to sell for the first time since the Mercedes based Sprinter went away in 2010.
If you want a diesel engine but don’t want to spring for a heavy-duty pickup, your only option is the Ram 1500.
The standard cab, short bed pickup is a rare breed these days. Most trucks that leave the dealer lot tend to be an extended cab, if not a four-door crew cab, with a longer bed and all the bells and whistles typically seen on a luxury vehicle. For a couple years, Ram has had the monopoly on a hot version of the standard cab with the Ram Express, a Hemi powered no-frills Ram, which starts at just $23,400. Not anymore.
News of former Ram divsion head Fred Diaz defecting to Nissan has sparked a hiring shuffle over at Chrysler. Reuters is reporting that former Dodge chief Reid Bigland will be moving over to head up Ram, while Tim Kuniskis will move from Fiat to replace Bigland at Dodge. Jason Stoicevich takes over from Kuniskis at Fiat.
The end of Q1 2013 in the United States saw numerous competitors in the mid-size sedan segment duking it out for the Number 1 spot. North of the border, the situation followed a familiar pattern as well; the race for the sales crown was dominated by compact sedans, rather than mid-sizers.
The Chrysler 300 is already equipped with a diesel for world markets, and there’s a possibility we may see an oil-burning 300 on our shores as well.
The driving force behind the 12 man protest at Chrysler’s Warren, Michigan plant has gotten the boot.
The Detroit News, which broke the story, reported that protest organizer Alex Wassell was suspended without pay after nearly 20 years on the job. The protest was not sanctioned by the UAW, and led to the leaking of some documents outlining quality problems with the 2013 Ram 1500, a crucial product for Chrysler.
Since Wassell’s suspension, groups like the ACLU and Labor Notes, a union activist group, have spoken out about the firing, which Chrysler described as being due to “…engaging in activity constituting or appearing to constitute a conflict with the interest of the company.”
Meanwhile, the UAW has been curiously silent on the whole matter, which gives us an indirect example of the inherent conflict that occurs when the labor union and the corporate owners are one and the same.
A few months back you helped me sort out a plan of action for my Ford Fiesta transmission problems, and I have another stick-shift quandary I thought you might have some insight on.
My second vehicle is a 2003 Ram 1500 (bare bones work-truck, standard cab, manual everything), which I’ve recently been doing a lot of maintenance on (new plugs, pads, rotors, u-joints, carrier bearing, and a few other things). One issue I haven’t been able to sort out is an odd grinding/squealing I get when the car is in gear at high rpms (3000+) with the clutch peddle fully depressed (on the floor), something akin to what you hear if you come off the clutch with the shifter only part-way into gear. (Read More…)
Even though Ford Ranger is dearly missed, Ford is claiming that Ranger customers are content with upgrading to an F-150 with one of Ford’s V6 powerplants – and they’re hardly alone in opting for the smaller powerplant.
The 12-person protest that took place at Chrysler’s Warren, Michgan truck plant got little notice in the automotive news cycle, save for a couple of mentions on the usual aggregators. In truth, it’s not the juiciest story to sell in this click-driven wasteland, though these stories tend to raise the most interesting questions. This example highlights an issue that is going to dog the UAW for some time – how will the UAW control their workers when they are also the owners?
Chrysler will be the first truck maker to offer a diesel engine on a half-ton pickup, when the Ram 1500 gets an oil-burner in Q3 of this year.