By on October 31, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

The next-generation Ram 1500 is still expected to trundle out of Sterling Heights in January of 2018, but don’t expect a familiar face to go away just yet.

As it readies a new full-sizer to better challenge Ford and General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to keep the old Ram 1500 in production for the 2018 and 2019 model years, Automotive News reports.

FCA chief financial officer Richard Palmer confirmed the continued co-production last week.

The something old, something new strategy has everything to do with fleet purchases, Palmer claims. By keeping both models rolling off their respective assembly lines, FCA can tempt fleet customers with a cheaper workhorse while retail customers go after the upgraded version.

“Going into 2018, having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers’ demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins,” Palmer said in a conference call.

Appearing early in 2018 as a 2019 model, the next-generation Ram 1500 boasts all-steel construction and a host of technological improvements.

According to Automotive News, FCA’s Warren, Michigan, and Saltillo, Mexico, truck plants should produce 265,000 2018 and 2019 previous-generation Rams. The bulk of the production — about 200,000 units — should come in 2018, sources claim. Meanwhile, FCA expects to build 325,000 next-generation Rams that year.

Squeezing as much sales mileage out of old models is an FCA specialty. Having earlier destined it to immediate extinction, the automaker decided to continue building the lower-cost Dodge Grand Caravan alongside the new Chrysler Pacifica in Windsor, Ontario.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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71 Comments on “FCA: We Know You Love That Old Ram 1500, So We’ll Keep It Around Awhile...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Cheeappp truckksss! Get them while they’re hot!

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    High time Ram front-ends joined the Curveless Club of Cuboid.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    They are the best trucks on the road now, so it makes sense to continue production for a while.

    This is a page taken right out of the GM and especially Ford playbook.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “They are the best trucks on the road now”

      So why don’t they sell the best? You callin’ us idiots?

      (OK, class, here’s a pure example of Freudian projection coming in 5..4..3..2..)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “The best trucks on the road” are the ones that in some configurations can’t even manage half a ton of payload?

      There’s a case to be made that the Ram HDs are competitive. The 1500 isn’t remotely competitive, just cheap and (with the Hemi) loud.

      • 0 avatar

        The ram 1500’s are great if you don’t need the capability, good MPG with the penta star or diesel great interiors cheap prices and very cushy ride thanks to the rear coils. But if your maxing payload not your thing, towing the wake board boat to the lake and daily driving perfection.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        ““The best trucks on the road” are the ones that in some configurations can’t even manage half a ton of payload?”

        This is completely false.

        According to ramtrucks.com, the lowest payload found on a Ram is 1,200 pounds. That’s for a Laramie Longhorn and a Limited 4X4 with a 6’4″ box.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          That’s before you add heavy options like the air suspension, EcoDiesel engine, RamBox, or a sunroof. Plenty of owners on the forums have actual door-sticker payloads under half a ton, some under 900 lbs. Put four big guys in your loaded crew-cab Ram and you can’t even put anything in the bed.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I do find Ram trucks puzzling. Consumer Reports and JD Power both say that the longer a vehicle model is in production the more reliable it tends to be. If that were true the Ram truck should be the best truck on the face of the earth.

            Is it?

            Consumer Reports says the 1500 is mid pack and the HD is the worst truck built. JD Power tends to say the same thing.

            The only way to get an okay payload out of a Ram 1500 is to buy the base model zero option truck.

            One of the car magazines said that Ram 1500 is what the BOF full sized sedan would be today if the car companies happened to continue making them.

            Ironically an FCA coolaid drinker with the name of a Ford vehicle is their biggest cheerleader.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Continuing in the grand tradition of selling essentially two different models from 1961 to 1994. The sheet metal refresh and renaming from D-Series to Ram in 1981 didn’t change the truck underneath.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Old pickups, Fiats not selling, no small/mid size cars, Ferrari F1 struggling and where the hell is Alfa Romeo. The future of non-Jeep FCA looks dismal. No wonder no one wanted to partner with them.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The pickups are fine. FCA has kept them fresh enough, they have a ton of versions, and they sell well.

    • 0 avatar
      thattruthguy

      Keeping the old truck in production for price sensitive customers and emphasizing loaded units for the new design is an excellent plan in a hot market.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        That’s short term thinking. Long term you need to innovate and come out with new stuff or you will eventually be left behind.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          “That’s short term thinking. Long term you need to innovate and come out with new stuff or you will eventually be left behind.”

          There will be a new Ram, keeping the old one around doesn’t mean there won’t be a new one. Like the article said, just because Grand Caravan remains in production doesn’t mean they don’t offer the new Pacifica.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          They’ll come out with new stuff. This also keeps Warren Truck running and full of jobs while they ramp up production of something else for that factory.

        • 0 avatar
          jthorner

          Coming out with new stuff and selling old stuff at a discount is a smart marketing strategy.

          Apple does it all the time. The iPhone 7 is their latest and greatest, but you can still buy a brand new iPhone 6s for less money than the 7. Guess what will happen when the iPhone 8 comes out?

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Lotta dumb but diligent working people are having their lives greatly eased and sometimes saved by FCA’s policy of keeping the old van available. Standard issue for struggling families ’round hyar.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Isn’t this what GM does wroth the Malibu? A new generation comes out and the current generation get sold as the Chevrolet Classic for a few years.

        Has that hurt GM?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Keeping the old truck in production for price sensitive customers and emphasizing loaded units for the new design is an excellent plan in a hot market.”

        Ford did that with the “Heritage” F150.

        If this is to feed fleet sales I don’t think it will work. In my part of the world Ram 1500 work trucks are as rare as Fiat 500’s.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      It’s like the part where they said they’re releasing a new truck in January 2018 was completely lost here.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @MrIcky – January 2018 is a long way away.
        Ford is releasing the 10 speed now. By the time January 2018 comes Ford will be releasing another updated F150 and most likely the rumoured diesel F150. There will also be the Ranger.

        GM will have the ten speed as well. I’m sure other upgrades will occur.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    No matter how amazing the next generation of Ram pickups are, their market share won’t change much, so it seems like a bad investment for the short term. The current Rams are fine for now, and it’s gotta be cheaper to pile on the cash on the hood.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Ford has used this plan in the past, especially when the new design is especially bold – the tenth-generation F-150 (’97-’04) was produced alongside the boxy 9th gen units for a few months – an acclimation period.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, I was about to post that. It was the ’97-’03 model, built for one more year (’04) as the “F-150 Heritage”. I still see one every once in awhile (saw one last week, while on my way to work). The ’97-’03 models are the tenth generation, and the ’04-’08 trucks are the eleventh generation. IIRC, the Heritage trucks were built in two plants, and were regular cab and SuperCab (extended cab) only. The new trucks were built in the other two plants (demand was so high then that four plants were building F-150s).

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        They did it for both generation jumps – the 9th ran alongside of the tenth in 1997, and the tenth backstopped the 11th in ’04. I believe they had tried this in the Sixties, too.

        Side note: At one point in the 1950s there were fourteen US and two South American assembly plants for the various F-series units.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It was 1996 that they sold the old truck along with the production started 1/2/96 “1997” F150. So there are no old style 1997 F150s and that was supposed to avoid confusion.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Ram Select, anyone?

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Nothing new here. GM sold the GMT400 and GMT800 concurrently for a couple of years, and Ford sold the F150 Heritage in 2004 alongside the new generation truck.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    so if the older version is targeted towards fleet sales can a private individual still order one if they do not want to pay for a new version? the old version may suit me just fine at about 85-90% of the cost of a new one. or are they just for fleet sales?

    the grand caravan / pacifica situation is different because both will be available to the general public. which do you want? which can you afford? with the ram 1500 you may not have a choice.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    FCA plans to do the same thing with Wrangler, or at least that was the official word last I heard.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      It’s true. FCA is moving the Cherokee out of Toledo, and building the new Wrangler on that line. The current Wrangler will be built as the “Wrangler Classic” for a year. Once the new Wrangler is at full speed, the old Wrangler line will be converted to add capacity and to build the Wrangler pickup.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    I don’t think having all-steel construction is anything to “boast” about these days in a “new” truck.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Redneck perfection!.. well except for the furrin’ owned part.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Fleets don’t by Rams because they don’t buy Rams not because FCA has a problem supplying them. Fact is that people who require their truck to make a living or keep the lights on trust Ford and GM trucks to do the job, Ram not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      In the oilpatch, if a company is doing well, the field guys have Ford or GM trucks. If the company is nearly bankrupt, the field guys have Dodge trucks because they are cheaper to buy.

    • 0 avatar

      GM and Ford dominate fleet but there are other that buy Rams. I know the old corporation I used to work for had a fleet of 1500 2wd’s, and I believe Fasten all buys tons still. Plus for a while they were the default pickup truck for enterprise rent a car.
      Also not sure why but I work down the street from a tow truck dealer upfitter. He told me Ram has gone from less then 5% of their business in 2010 to almost half.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      This just isn’t accurate. Especially the chassis cabs with custom boxes/equipment. I see these in Ram/Dodge format all the time. The cummins is simply a better motor for that kind of use.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Certainly not the case around here, you’ll see a few 3/4 ton Rams in fleet use but you don’t see many chassis cabs that is Ford by a mile.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Ok so it won’t let me edit to add the link to my state’s public surplus motor pool truck page. http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/all,wa/browse/cataucs?catid=404 look how many Dodge/Ram products there are. That is not unusual either. Occasionally you’ll see a 70’s through early 90’s Dodge come through, because that was back when they stopped just short of paying fleets to take Dodge trucks. Even more infrequently you’ll see a Ram.

          And here is country wide http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?slth=&catid=404&page=1&sortBy=timeLeft less than 10% Dodge/Ram

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        The cummins is a legit alternative to the powerstroke… It’s not that Chevrolet isn’t too but the combo of lower torque and lower hp plus the much weaker independent front end makes it a no go for commercial applications

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      What about Enterprise and other car rental companies?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Ford’s fleet support network has traditionally been better. That’s changing with Ram Commercial and is a reason why they’ve been gaining market share in the segment.

      If a fleet can be shown they’ll get the support, they’ll switch in many cases. In some cases, there’s too much brand loyalty. A ton of those oilfield guys get out of Fords at the end of their shift and drive off in Rams.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is going to create a trim package rarity later, for those couple which were introduced this year – the Platinum Reserve or whatever it was called.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    A big part of the Ram’s resurgence was the fact that FCA read the US pickup consumer well.

    FCA realised that 75% of pickups are just cars, so they built a car.

    FCA also realised the stigma attached to the “big rig” mentality to justify the ownership of a full size half ton.

    So, we have the Ram in its current guise.

    I really do find those I deem as “the 10%’ers” who’s constant attempts to glorify full size ownership with half baked and illogical reasoning.

    A few full size picks are used to “work” as a toy/camper, ets hauler.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I really do find BAFO’s I deem as “the 10%’ers” who’s constant attempts to glorify small diesel truck ownership with half baked and illogical reasoning.”

      There fixed it for you.

      Yes.

      You don’t get it.

      We figured that out a few years ago.

      People in the USA and Canada like full sized vehicles especially trucks.

      You feel that anyone that disagrees with you or does not see your way is illogical.

      Wow, you are the Donald Trump of pickup trucks.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Mixed feelings about this.
    First, it is sad that FCA doesn’t think it will actually sell the trucks that they are spending billions developing and billions more updating the Sterling Heights plant.

    BUT. I live in South Warren. The fact that the Mound truck plant will be open for a few more years is great. A lot of people around here depend on that place. Including my next door neighbor

  • avatar
    jthorner

    GM has run this play many times over the years. In 2016, for example, fleet buyers could still buy brand new previous generation Malibus while retail customers got the all new version.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I leased a 2016 Ram 1500 SLT Big Horn in June of this year. In June 0f 2019 I will lease the new 2019 Ram! Always a 36-month lease, never 39. The extra three months mean you pay a full year’s registration to drive a vehicle for 90 days.
    Great truck, and I have always preferred GMC only…

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