By on April 16, 2019

Ram 1500

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t break down its Ram pickup sales figures for us wordy-typey slobs, so it isn’t easy to figure out just how much the held-over 1500 Classic has helped the brand’s soaring sales. FCA decided, last year, that the old-generation half-ton should remain in production, and not just to smooth things over while the new-for-2019 1500 got up to speed.

Well, we now have a better idea of just how useful that strategy was. Go figure — scores of American truck buyers are willing to forgo refinement for a lower price on a big, brawny pickup.

According to Automotive News, citing J.D. Power figures, Ram 1500 Classic sales amounted to nearly one-third of Ram pickup sales in the first quarter of 2019. Through the end of March, Ram sales rose 15 percent over the same period last year, helping the brand increase its lead over rival Chevrolet.

The Classic is a continuation of a truck that first appeared in 2009. While its successor has earned accolades for refinement, as well as its two eTorque engines, Ram isn’t letting those versions go for much of a bargain. Incentives abound, however, for Classic buyers already staring down the barrel of a lower MSRP. Our Ace of Base series recently looked at one of those bargain brutes.

As the two model’s trim lines and configurations don’t completely overlap, many customers head to the Classic if they can’t find what they want with the new-generation model.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock_1

“While there are more trim levels and features with the new-for-2019 Ram 1500, the previous- generation Ram has a lot to offer,” said Allyson Harwood, associate editor at Kelley Blue Book. “For example, buyers who are looking for a regular cab Ram can’t currently get a new-for-2019 model with a regular cab, but it’s available as a Ram Classic. You also can’t get an 8-foot bed at all, unless you opt for the Classic.”

The Classic’s production is open-ended, with FCA giving no hints as to when it might cease assembly of the older model. FCA recently promised extra cash for its Warren Truck plant, home to both the Ram Classic and the future Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. In that announcement, the automaker said Classic production was “being extended to meet market demand.” Few expect 2019 to be the model’s final year.

Dealers claim the Classic remains popular. Speaking to AN, David Kelleher, owner of David Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Glen Mills, PA, said the Classic makes up about 25 percent of his monthly Ram sales.

“The customers coming in and buying $350 a month and are suddenly facing $475,” he said of the new-generation truck. “You’re just going to lose some people [without a cheaper option].”

Ram 1500

Commercial customers looking to spend as little as possible gravitate to the Classic in big numbers at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Houston, with dealer principal Steven Wolf saying, “If you come in, and you hit all the bells on a [new] Lone Star, I think you can get around $4,250 in rebates if you’re a conquest customer. On a Classic, it’s up to $10,000, just on rebates. That’s a significant difference, and it’s a $5,000 less expensive truck.”

Despite those incentives, the ancient Classic was paid off years ago, meaning its presence is only a problem to FCA if it eats up valuable real estate that could hold a pricier, in-demand vehicle. Eventually, the old model will run out of gas, though not before FCA foists a tempting, Classic-only trim on buyers. If it hasn’t already, the Warlock should reach dealers imminently.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

31 Comments on “Big, Old, and Cheap Helps Move Metal, Ram Dealers Claim...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    https://www.autonews.com/classicram

    But I can’t find any “WARLOCK” package trucks near me… BOOOOOOOOO!

    I’ve already decided however that truck is not my next purchase. I am still set on a fling with a dying segment like sedans.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    It says all you need to know about the modern half-ton pickup market that FCA can’t even be bothered to make the newest model with a regular cab and long bed. RCLB are work trucks, and people that want work trucks want 3/4 ton. The half-ton pickup truck is just the modern version of the LTD.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Well of course.

      As one commenter said (paraphrasing): Start putting trunk lids on them at the factory and we can end this charade.

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently, the new ram will get a Reg cab but not until the classic dies. While I love regular cabs it does make a whole lot of sense to do it that way based on the customer profile presented by Regular cabs. On a side note when Dodge introduced the 2nd gen Ram in 94 they only had reg cabs extended cabs had to wait until 95, despite the previous gen having them and dodge inventing the extended cab in the 70’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      21% of 36,000 XL trimmed Fords, 10% of 9,000 WT trimmed Chevys, and 9% of 26,000 Tradesman trimmed Rams currently listed on cars.com are single cabs.

      The internet hatchback brigade’s notion of what a work truck is is as delusional as all of their other notions.

    • 0 avatar

      Assuming that Chrysler has less capacity than demand for the new Ram, it makes a lot of sense for them to use that space for Longhorn quad cabs that they are making a bucket of money on instead of stripper shortbed single cabs that don’t have any of those profitable options.

  • avatar

    I like the look of the classic a bit more. But if I had the cash I would get a loaded new style crew cab. If I wasn’t hauling kids thou the Quad Cab classic seems like a hell of a deal.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I don’t understand the issue here?

    You can buy a simpler cheaper version of every full size truck on the market, you don’t have to buy the top tier leather luxo version.

    You can get the cloth 40/20/40 bench seat equipped lower-middle model at a reasonable price.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “The customers coming in and buying $350 a month and are suddenly facing $475”

    There are 915 of these trucks within 100 mi of Los Angeles. The lowest price for any of the Classic 1500s is $29k – a truck penalty box with zero options. Would not be surprised if it was just an AM radio. Add in typical destination charges and tax and it’s $33k.

    That’s a 6 yr loan to get to $470/month. On a stripper work truck.

    Wow.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in New England a reg cab stripper 2wd sells for 25K. A 4wd quad cab tradesman are around 28-29K. From what I see on the road here the classic badges are mostly on trademsan and Express quad cabs with 4wd. In this case bottom trim still nets you A/C and Am/FM radio.
      Also up here that same quad cab tradesman can be leased for 4K down $199 a month.

      • 0 avatar
        NECarGuy

        Here in the Midwest (Nebraska) where trucks are everywhere, I can pick up a Quad Cab Classic 4WD for $199/month with $999 down.

        https://www.baxterchryslerjeepdodge.net/specials/current.htm#1500-quad-cab

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        If someone is using a truck as a work truck, why would they lease? I would imagine the mileage and wear/tear would make leasing a non-starter.

        • 0 avatar

          People do lease work trucks. Some with normal closed end leases others open ended where wear and tear isn’t such an issue. I know a couple guys who have leased new trucks as contractors. You also get special fleet leasing, a friend of mine years ago worked for an excavating company with a fleet of f350’s mostly used to refuel excavators with transfer tanks and haul small equipment as well as plow in the winter. They were all on 4 year leases.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            At the end of the lease, companies just own the (work) trucks. No residuals, penalties or fees. It’s really no different than financing the trucks, except it simplifies accounting and taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      I don’t think many people are coming in to buy a truck with zero down. It just isn’t done.

  • avatar
    Jon

    So a lot of people actually want high powered trucks with minimal features. Whoda thunk. GM – take notice.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    Is that including the $10,000 off MSRP a lot of these trucks have on them?

  • avatar
    Steve203

    With only a third of 1500s being the “Classic” they must be close to a number that Saltillo could build on it’s own, so Warren can come off line for renovation and retooling for the Waggy.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The Saltillo Mexico plant will likely continue building 1500 Classics exclusively and indefinitely for the Mexico market (plus South America), same as the current 2500 HDs and up to 5500 HD Cab-n-chassis’ trucks, which are all built exclusively in Mexico for the US/Canada/Mexico markets (and South America).

      Ram could continue with two separate lines of trucks in the US and Canada, indefinitely, ala former Super Duty/F-150 lines, built on separate platforms.

      Or Ram could cease 1500 Classic Mexico builds and do both a new generation (not announced yet) of HD trucks along side the old (current) HDs, at the Saltillo plant, to avoid lost sales and delays while converting the plant to a new or next generation of HDs.

      Once that’s done, the Saltillo plant can restart with the all-new 2019+ Ram 1500s and all-new HDs, side by side. Just some of the many possibilities, given the flexibility of multiple plants in different markets.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        “Once that’s done, the Saltillo plant can restart with the all-new 2019+ Ram 1500s and all-new HDs, side by side. Just some of the many possibilities, given the flexibility of multiple plants in different markets.”

        What I had in mind, given the close proximity of Warren truck and SHAP, is have Saltillo take all the Classic load, then renovate Warren for new 1500 and Waggy.

        With greater supply of the new 1500, then they can dial back Classic production in Saltillo, and, maybe, then Saltillo could start production of the “metric ton” Ram pickup that has been waiting for assembly capacity to become available.

        If GM had been willing to sell D-Ham to FCA, that would have simplified things: build new 1500, to augment SHAP, and Waggy at D-Ham, continue building the Classic at Warren, then switch Saltillo from the Classic to the “metric ton”. But GM would apparently rather spend tens of millions on demolition and cleanup of D-Ham, then sell it for hundreds of millions.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Id buy one in a heartbeat if I was in the market for a new truck. First off, Im a single cab/shortbed buyer. I don’t want a bunch of tech or nannies. I don’t want an iPad on the dash, you couldn’t bludgeon me into accepting a hybrid ANYTHING, and a 4×4 Hemi in Tradesman trim is a good candidate to becoming my own ‘synthetic Rebel’.

    If we’re talking a 2wd then the case is even more compelling for me, thanks to the common 5-bolt hubs. You won’t be putting 17” Torque Thrust TTO’s on anything with that epically STUPID 6-bolt pattern on the new Rams. A 2wd shortbed Hemi Ram with crankup windows and basic trim is the closest thing to a RoadRunner in spirit that money buys in 2019. Leaving behind all the glittery widgets and doo-dads frees up plenty of cash for things like the Challenger scooped hood, exhaust and suspension upgrades, a tune etc that would make for a truck only about infinity billion times cooler and more unique than another cookie cutter luxo barge blinged out on factory 22’s. But some people have more money/credit than imagination I guess. Hell, Stacey David did exactly that with a new Express some years back.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      I loved that build by Stacey David. But lets be honest: the parts he added to the truck cost as much as just upgrading to the Sport trim (or maybe even more). And that’s not counting labor I would have to pay.

      We own a RC Black Express (5.7, LED lights, power windows, upgraded sound, blacked out everything from factory) that hit all my buttons, including the bench seat for more legroom. Out the door for 25K IIRC – quite a deal.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        Very true on the final price. HOWEVER, dollar for dollar I see value in ownership of a unique to me hotrod vs some cookie cutter, off the lot rig that anyone could sign off on. But then, Im speaking as a private owner and would keep it as a personal vehicle. That ProCharger is the biggest upgrade and responsible for a lot of cash spent.

  • avatar
    KevinB

    The Ram Classic and Grand Caravan are making FCA King of the Cash Cows.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Maybe this is a better alternative than a new mid-sized Dodge pickup?

    Which doesn’t seem to be coming any time soon.

    It would be interesting to price this out, compared to similarly equipped mid-sizers.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      “Maybe this is a better alternative than a new mid-sized Dodge pickup?”

      Thing is, the typical big US pickup is irrelevant in the rest of the world.

      Reportedly they have a midsize in the works. The 5 year plan published last year calls for a “metric ton” pickup for global sale. Their problem has been finding production capacity to build it.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Lie2me: Yep, Subaru has learned not to mess with success
  • speedlaw: Peruse Reddit’s r/askcarsales . The salemen even have a cute name for it…’neg egg”
  • speedlaw: Seems odd. Take so much engine and then stuff into a body and frame that isn’t performance....
  • NormSV650: Our old 2012 Forester with P0300 codes and dropping coolant level would say otherwise. It would puff blue...
  • Lie2me: Your uncle sure can pick ’em

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States