Chrysler puts its best foot forward with 2013 Ram 1500

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Ram is looking to the future as it leaves the Dodge family behind. Image: Justin Capolongo/Flickr/CC BY

Ram is putting its best foot forward as it distances itself from Dodge. The 2013 Ram 1500 is, by all accounts, tough as nails. And it squeezes more miles out of a gallon than any other full-size pickup before it.

Ram 1500 launches Ram line

Chrysler, majority-owned owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, is launching Ram as its own, trucks-only line with the Ram 1500 pickup. Dodge will now concentrate on sports and family cars.

Chrysler is hoping to inspire confidence in the brand by building its inaugural model to impress.

Michelle Krebs, Edmunds.com senior analyst, said:

“They’re establishing the right vehicle first for the brand’s image. The Ram pickup has always been a high-profile vehicle. The Ram 1500 will have a halo effect on the other vehicles that are to come from the brand.”

The 2013 Ram 1500 has been overhauled from top to bottom, with upgraded interiors and a re-designed body. It features air suspension that improves aerodynamics at high speeds, and an eight-speed transmission.

Aaron Bragman, a product analyst at IHS Automotive, said:

“It’s a very big breadwinner for Chrysler Group. The higher fuel economy will make the new 1500 more appealing. The interiors are really, dramatically improved from what we’ve seen. It’s definitely a step up.”

Improved fuel economy

Under the hood, it will pack either a six or an eight cylinder Penstar engine, tooled to improve mileage by up to 20 percent from previous versions. It will also offer an optional start/stop system to further increases mileage. In addition, every effort has been made by Chrysler to lower weight, culminating in the best mileage ever achieved in a full-sized pickup. According to Chrysler Group, it will get 17 mpg in the city and an unheard-of 25 mpg on the highway.

Chrysler, in fact, has such faith in the model that it is considering upping the production at its Warren, Michigan plant.

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Fred Diaz, president of the Ram, said in an interview:

“We’re looking at ways to ramp up production to keep up with current demand because the current truck is selling so well… We’ve got additional production capacity. That’s something that we are watching very carefully so that when that time comes, we can react quickly.”

‘Hit a bigger tree’

But will it convince motorist looking for a tough workhorse, as well as a smooth, less thirsty ride, to look into the new car loan interest rate? Auto critic Mark Phelan, writing for the Detroit Free Press, told of smashing a review-Ram into a tree and falling it. Later, after inspecting it for damage, Ram’s chief engineer Mike Raymond told Phelan:

“Next time, hit a bigger tree.”

The 2013 Ram 1500 will sell from $23,585 for the base model, up to $48,415 for the 4×4 Crew Cab Laramie Longhorn.

Sources

Detroit Free Press
Business Week
AOL Autos

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