With IIHS Award, Ram Scores a Marketing Coup Over Ford

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
with iihs award ram scores a marketing coup over ford

While Ram’s holdover 1500 Classic isn’t about to earn any top safety awards, its current-generation successor just did. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bestowed a coveted Top Safety Pick + label upon Ram’s strong-selling full-size pickup, making it the first vehicle in its class to ever earn the accolade.

Lots of pickups are plenty safe, lording over the road as they do, but a new addition to the IIHS’s testing regimen prevented the awarding of top honors to any member of these open-trunk, half-ton family sedans — headlights. Thanks to a tweak in May of this year, the Ram 1500 crew cab now qualifies for the top podium.

“To qualify for a 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests,” the Institute stated. “It also needs an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating.”

While the new-for-2019 Ram 1500 improved on its predecessor’s crashworthiness, its headlamps weren’t anything to write home about. Be it halogen or LED, the 1500 earned only poor or marginal ratings for headlight performance. Even the fancy LED projector lamps found on top-tier trims angered the IIHS with its “excessive glare.”

After May 2019, those peepers ceased to be a problem — the LED projector lamps now rate a “good,” allowing the 1500 crew cab to collect its top top safety rating. Quad cab models need not apply. This doesn’t mean your Ram 1500 crew cab is the pinnacle of safety, mind you. These lamps can only be found as standard kit on high-zoot Laramie Longhorn and Limited models.

Still, expect to see this award touted heavily in marketing materials and on billboards near you. In contrast, the 2019 Ford F-150 earns top marks for all crash tests and its optional front crash protection, but “poor” headlamps keep it out of the running for a top safety pick. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, which the Ram 1500 recently surpassed as second-place sales leader, also suffers from a poor headlamp rating, as well as mediocre performance in the small overlap front passenger-side crash test. Same goes for its GMC Sierra sibling.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Akear Akear on Sep 11, 2019

    Under Barra GM quality is really going downhill. GM what a disgrace!

    • See 1 previous
    • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Sep 11, 2019

      Under Barra, GM quality and durability has improved on every vehicle model they offer. You just make yourself look like an idiot when you type out your "disgrace" tagline with almost every post.

  • Stuki Stuki on Sep 11, 2019

    It's pretty sad, when the poor engineers aren't allowed to build proper headlights on vehicles with enough frontal fascia space to fit a lighting rig worthy of a Rolling Stones concert... Plus underhood space for an alternator able to drive it all.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.