Incentives, Old Model Keep Interest in Ram 1500 Alive as Fuel-sipper V6 Remains in Hiding
What happens when you launch your first all-new full-size pickup in a decade with only one of the three planned engines ready to go? Fiat Chrysler’s finding out with its 2019 Ram 1500, which entered production at the dawn of the new year. Five months later, and there’s still no mild hybrid Pentastar V6 or similarly electrified 5.7-liter V8.
The 2019 model’s off the launch pad, but hasn’t cleared the tower. Thankfully for the brand, FCA saw fit to keep the older generation in production, satisfying buyers who like lower MSRPs and available six-cylinder powerplants. That doesn’t help would-be buyers who keep showing up at FCA dealers in search of a thrifty new Ram, however.
According to a Michigan dealer that spoke to Automotive News, curious customers are turned away on a weekly basis. “Turned away” is likely a misnomer here, as the dealer would surely attempt to lure the dejected consumer into a 2018 model with cash on the hood (and cash there be).
It’s assumed that either the 48-volt belt-starter generator system assigned to the newest Ram crop requires some additional fine-tuning before sales commence, or the Environmental Protection Agency is dragging its feet. Right now, only the conventional 5.7-liter 2019 models carry an EPA fuel economy rating.
To generate interest in the new (and old) models, FCA’s incentive spending is on the rise. Citing data from Autodata Corp., Automotive News claims 1500s carried an average of $6,578 on their hoods over the first five months of 2018 — an 11 percent increase over the same period a year ago. These incentives are apparently on the decline, or at least they were in May.
While it would appear that Ram sales suffered as a result of the no-show engines (volume of all Ram pickup lines fell 8.4 percent, year to date), FCA claims interest in the two 1500 lines hasn’t waned. The automaker says retail sales of the 1500 rose 18 percent in May, year over year.
Obviously, had FCA’s engine launch coincided with that of the truck, we’d be looking at very different sales figures. In the meantime, overall sales of Ford’s F-Series — the world’s best-selling vehicle line since Ancient Aliens ruled the land — continue into the stratosphere. F-Series sales rose 11.3 percent in May, year over year, and 5.7 percent over the first five months of 2018.
[Image: © 2018 Matthew Guy/TTAC]
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