Ram auto news

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings [UPDATE]

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its trucks in a bid to lower its base curb weight, and therefore its gross vehicle weight.

For those that need a refresher, GVW is the combination of a truck's curb weight plus its payload. Gross vehicle weight rating, meanwhile, is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can handle, and it's also used to classify pickups. In Ford's case, tweaking the GVW by removing parts allows it to station the F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups. This is despite the fact that it's hewn from stiffer stuff than the average Class III and has the elevated towing capacity to prove it.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

UPDATE: This story originally stated that gross vehicle weight rating was a combination of curb weight and payload. To clarify, GVWR is a fixed figure, which a vehicle's curb weight and payload cannot exceed. The story has been edited to reflect this.

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its vehicles in a bid to lower its base curb weight and therefore keep the truck's gross vehicle weight rating down.

For those that need a refresher, GVWR is the vehicle's curb weight plus its maximum payload. A lower GVWR allows Ford to station its F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups, despite the fact that internally, it has the makings of a more brutish Class IV truck.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

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Ford, Ram in heavy-duty towing spat

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Government/Legal, Ford, Ram

2015 Ford F-450

2014 Ram 3500Every pickup truck commercial has the brand trying to convince us that its model is the biggest, brawniest vehicle on the block. But Ford and Ram appear ready to really throw down the gauntlet and scrap over the towing figures for their heavy-duty models, and it could potentially end up in court.

The issue revolves around what it means to be best in class. Ford claims that its 2015 F-450 (pictured above) has a max tow rating of 31,200 pounds, compared to 30,000 pounds for the Ram 3500 (right). However, both companies market these heavy haulers as having the top towing in their class. According to Automotive News, Ford is threatening legal action if Ram doesn't back down.

The situation isn't as simple as just comparing the numbers, though. First, the two companies calculate their towing capacities differently. Ram adheres to the SAE J2807 rating, while Ford uses its own internal system. Although, as the company introduces new models, they are certified using the SAE standard. "When an all-new F-Series Super Duty is introduced, it also will use SAE J2807," said Ford to Autoblog in an emailed statement.

The second issue hinges on whether the F-450 and Ram 3500 are even in the same class at all. The "best-in-class" boast hinges on both trucks belonging to the Department of Transportation's Class 3 rules, stipulating that above a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds, a model moves into Class 4. Ford claims that the F-450 has a GVWR of exactly that amount. However, according to Automotive News, the company removes the spare tire, tire jack and center console to reach that number.

Ford is sticking to its guns, though. "The 2015 F-450 pickup is a Class 3 (10,001 lbs. - 14,000 lbs. GVWR) dual rear-wheel, chassis-certified pickup truck," said the company in a statement emailed to Autoblog.

Although, Ram isn't changing course either. "Our best-in-class claim of 30,000 pounds of towing capacity for the 2014 Ram 3500 stands firm in the 350/3500 segment. Additionally, unlike our competitors, our new 2015 Ram 3500 will hold the title and weight capacity while adhering to the SAE J2807 towing test criteria," said Ram in a statement emailed to Autoblog.

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Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Recalls/TSBs, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The public might associated ignition switch recalls with General Motors - and with good cause - but that's not the only automaker calling its vehicles back in to fix that sort of issue.

Last month we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating an array of Chrysler Group vehicles for electrical-related safety issues. The administration and Chrysler subsequently issued a recall for 700,000 Dodge Journey crossovers, Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. But while the Jeeps that were also under investigation were not covered in that recall, they are being addressed in a separate one now.

Although Chrysler reports that it is only aware of a single accident stemming from this issue, it is "committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution." The recall affects the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, of which it reports there are 792,300 on the road: 649,900 in the United States, 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico and a further 100,800 outside of North America.

Chrysler is calling in the affected units for similar reasons it recalled the aforementioned minivans and crossovers, and for which GM has recalled millions of its vehicles: namely, that the ignition could be accidentally turned off due to excess weight (like other keys and fobs) attached to the ignition key, or from contact with the driver's knee. As a result, the engine could stall, the power brakes and steering could be disabled and the front airbags may deactivate. The automaker says its "engineers are working to develop a remedy" for the issue.

In an entirely separate announcement, Chrysler is also calling in approximately 21,000 late-model vehicles to inspect and potentially replace their shocks and/or struts. The company reports that a supplier found that the suspension components could "break free from their mounts, which could potentially lead to reduced shock damping and possible loss of vehicle control." The vehicles affected include the 2014 Ram 1500, 2015 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Chrysler 200 - specifically those built in the 16 days leading up to June 6, 2014. Read the full details of both recalls in the announcements below.

Continue reading Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

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Ram to go on a Rampage with new small pickup?

07/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, FIAT, Ram

Fiat Strada Rampage Prototype

When people look back at today's automotive industry, what do you think they'll remember us for? The emergence of hybrids? Ever more expensive and exotic supercars? The dawn of the self-driving car? All likely scenarios, but so is the blurring of lines between one bodystyle and another, giving rise to hardtop convertible coupes and crossovers of every shape and size. But one bodystyle the North American auto industry has stayed largely away from in the past couple of decades is a car nose and chassis with a pickup bed.

It's a bodystyle immortalized by the Chevrolet El Camino, but with few exceptions, we haven't seen too many of these automotive platypuses in recent years on our turf. Subaru tried with the Baja and the low-volume Honda Ridgeline soldiers along largely unchanged, but the genre's biggest adherents are still Down Under, where ute versions of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon live. With a few other examples scattered to the four corners of the earth, that's really about it. But if these spy shots are anything to go by, it looks like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could be working to bring it back.

Spied undergoing testing in Michigan, what we appear to be looking at is a heavily disguised Fiat Strada being prepared - like the Fiat Ducato-based Ram ProMaster and the smaller Doblo-based ProMaster City - for Stateside duty as a Ram product. The Strada, for those unfamiliar, is a product of Fiat Automóveis in Brazil and is based on the Palio economy car. The nameplate has been around South America since 1996 and was originally designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro (long before Volkswagen monopolized his talents), and takes a more rugged approach in the form of the Strada Adventure.

The test mule pictured here (said by our spy shutterbugs on the scene to be packing a diesel and a stick) is obviously wearing some heavy body cladding, but that in and of itself - along with its presence in Auburn Hills near company headquarters with Michigan manufacturer plates - suggests something could be afoot. Of course, it's 100-percent possible that engineers are merely working on a foreign-market model at the company's US operations - especially with that drivetrain combination - but past rumors have hinted that the now-dead Dodge Dakota could come back as a different sort of vehicle. Most recently, it's been hinted that the project was shelved, possibly in favor of a Mitsubishi-based pickup, but that doesn't appear to be what we see here.

Whatever this is, it looks longer than a Strada, with a bigger bed and four proper doors instead of just two and appears to be riding higher on a jacked-up suspension - all presumably to meet North American tastes. Any taller and it'd look less like a ute and more like a truck... which may be good news to those who miss the Dakota, but in its present form, it looks more like a revival of the Rampage than anything else.

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Ram goes all-in on SAE J2807 tow ratings [w/video]

07/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Ram

2015 Ram Trucks Tow Ratings

Thanks to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), when car shoppers look at horsepower and torque figures on vehicles, they know that all the automakers are calculating them the same way. However, that isn't the case when it comes to truck buyers and max towing capacity ratings because each company figures the value differently. That practice finally changes with the SAE's standardized J2807 system, though, and Ram Truck is the first one to apply the new test procedure to its entire light- and heavy-duty pickup range.

All models of the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 use the new, standardized rating for the 2015 model year, but buyers might not notice too much difference. According to the company, in 99 percent of cases the max towing weights are unchanged or even improve slightly from last year. That's a strong result compared to the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra that are seeing few increases but mostly decreases under the new testing procedure.

"For too long, an uneven playing field existed and towing capacities went unchecked. We're happy to be the only pickup truck manufacturer to align with the SAE J2807 towing standard across our pickup truck lineup," said Mike Cairns, director of Ram Truck engineering, in the company's announcement of the new specs.

The new 2015 Ram SAE J2807 towing capacities are as follows:

  • Ram 1500 with 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 - 7,600 pounds
  • Ram 1500 with 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 - 9,200 pounds
  • Ram 1500 with 5.7-liter Hemi V8- 10,650 pounds
  • Ram 2500 with 6.4-liter Hemi V8 - 16,300 pounds
  • Ram 2500 with 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six diesel - 17,970 pounds
  • Ram 3500 with 6.4-liter Hemi V8 - 16,420 pounds
  • Ram 3500 with 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six diesel - 30,000 pounds
Not only is J2807 meant to create a standard across all truck makers; its tests are supposed to simulate real-world towing for trucks. To achieve a given weight rating, the pickups have to perform certain tests. These include evaluations like a 0-60 miles per hour time allowance, the ability to climb a grade without dipping below a certain speed and some handling checks. Once all of the companies are using J2807, buyers should have a far more accurate idea of towing performance. Scroll down to watch a video of Ram touting its new numbers and read the company's official release.

Continue reading Ram goes all-in on SAE J2807 tow ratings [w/video]

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NHTSA investigating Ram 1500 models for rear differential failure

06/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Dodge, Ram

2005 Dodge Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its Ram brand following a number of reports regarding the 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. According to 15 consumer complaints, the trucks' rear differential locked up while in other cases, the driveshaft separated at its connection to the diff.

Nearly half of the reports claim the truck was traveling at or above 50 miles per hour, while two consumers reported that the diff lockup/driveshaft separation sent their pickups into a spin. Most troubling, though, is that consumers reported little to no sound indicating there was a problem with their truck.

We reached out to Ram for additional information, such as how many vehicles may be affected or what equipment might be fitted that could cause the issue. Unfortunately, the company wasn't willing to elaborate on specifics.

"Chrysler Group is cooperating fully with NHTSA and would like to remind customers that this is an investigation, not a recall," Ram spokesman Nick Cappa told Autoblog via email.

As more information on this incident becomes available, we'll be sure to update you. Scroll down for the official blast from NTHSA.

Continue reading NHTSA investigating Ram 1500 models for rear differential failure

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Hero gets his truck back better than new thanks to community support [w/video]

06/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Dodge, Diesel, Ram

Bryson Rowley with his 2008 Dodge Ram 2500

You ever hear a story and start cringing before you hear the end because you know how it's going to turn out? That could very well have been the case with the story from a few weeks ago in West Valley City, Utah, where a 14-year-old kid stole his grandfather's Hyundai Veloster and took it for a joyride - through a park full of children. But instead it turned into a heart-warming tale of heroism and a community banding together to do what's right... and then some.

Bryson Rowley was that hero who identified the danger and, rather than sit idly by and watch the joyrider potentially run over a child, got into his truck and drove it into the menacing runaway hatchback. The collision caused some $7,500 to his 2008 Dodge Ram 2500, but instead of getting stuck with the bill - one which his insurance may very well have refused to pay since the crash was, technically speaking, intentional - his community pitched in a helping hand.

Bryan Ellison, who owns West Valley Carstar with his brother, saw the news on television and wanted to help. So he brought Rowley a rental car, picked up his truck and brought it back to his auto repair shop. People from around the community donated parts, and when all was said and done, some $15,000 of work and upgrades were performed on the Ram that was returned to an overwhelmed Bryson Rowley better than new. Watch the video below for the full story.

Continue reading Hero gets his truck back better than new thanks to community support [w/video]

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2015 Ram Promaster City is ready to take a load off [w/videos]

06/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Commercial Trucks, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

2015 Ram ProMaster City Wagon

2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman CargoThere are a few segments of the auto industry that are growing rapidly. Weirdly, though, one of the most notable is the compact cargo van market. What use to be the sole terrain of the Ford Transit Connect and the occasional Dodge Grand Caravan-based Ram C/V Tradesman is becoming a notable battleground. Nissan has dove headfirst into the market with its NV200, which will also be sold as a Chevrolet City Express and Ford recently released a heavily redesigned, more user friendly Transit Connect. Now, Ram is releasing its entry into the compact cargo segment.

Like the Transit Connect and NV, the all-new Ram ProMaster City is billed as a diet version of the full-sized workhorse van, the ProMaster. Also like its big brother, the 2015 ProMaster City is based off a commercial offering from Fiat Professional, the Doblò (the full-size ProMaster is based on the Fiat Ducato).

But while the ProMaster gets a pair of six-cylinder engines and a wide array of wheelbase and roof heights, the ProMaster City is simpler. The sole engine choice is the familiar 2.4-liter, Tigershark four-cylinder that's found in the vehicles Fiat Chrysler's compact-wide platform, such as the Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee. Power output sits at 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. According to Ram, the ProMaster City boasts class-leading output and can sprint to 60 in 9.8 seconds. Perhaps knowing that's a ridiculous stat in a cargo van, Ram also cites a more useful 3.7-second run from zero to 30 miles per hour. The Tigershark sends its power through a nine-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

There will be two configurations when the ProMaster City arrives in dealerships - the Tradesman Cargo and the Wagon. The former is a classic, two-seat cargo van with 131.7 cubic feet of cargo volume, which spans 60.4-inches wide and 87.2-inches deep. Moreover, there's 48.8 inches between the rear wheel wells. The 60/40-split doors can be opened to 180 degrees when necessary, although they only open to 90 degrees unless a release is pushed.

Regardless of its purpose, these doors come standard, along with a pair of sliding doors on both driver and passenger sides. For the passenger version of the van, a 60/40-split folding bench seat takes some of the cargo volume up. Still, there's about four-feet of depth when the seats are up and six feet when flipped up.

Take a look below for the official press release from Ram, as well as a quick pair of videos, the first of which is an overview of the new ProMaster City while the second video covers the history of Dodge/Ram vans. Scroll down and have a look.

Continue reading 2015 Ram Promaster City is ready to take a load off [w/videos]

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Porsche, Hyundai and GM impress in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Fiat and Jeep don't

06/19/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, GM, GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Porsche, FIAT, Ram

Porsche badge

JD Power IQSConsumers continue to struggle with the advanced user interfaces and technologies being fitted to new cars, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Overall, the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles climbed three percent, to 116 issues reported in the first 90 days of ownership.

Vehicles from the General Motors' family were dominant, with Buick, Chevrolet and GMC capturing more individual IQS segment awards than any other manufacturer. Despite its well-publicized issues, six GM vehicles (Buick Encore, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy Silverado HD, Chevy Suburban, GMC Terrain and GMC Yukon) were given IQS awards for their respective segments.

Hyundai was ranked the best overall mass-market brand, with just 94 issues in every 100 vehicles reported in the first 90 days. Parent Hyundai Motor Company, meanwhile, trailed GM with five vehicles winning their segments, including the Hyundai Accent, Elantra and Genesis, as well as the Kia Cadenza and Sportage.

On the premium end of the scale, Porsche was tops for the second year in a row, with just 74 issues per 100 vehicles. Not only was it the best premium brand, it had the best score of any marque surveyed. Weirdly, it was followed by Jaguar, which handily topped quality stalwart Lexus, with just 87 problems per 100 vehicles (don't worry, Jag's sister company, Land Rover, still finished well below the industry average).

While Land Rover was its usual disappointing self when it comes to the IQS, Fiat easily took the crown as the worst performer overall. Owners of the diminutive Italian cars reported 206 problems per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. Yes, that works out to over two problems per vehicle within the first three months. In fact, Fiat Chrysler Automobile's brands did rather poorly in general ­- Jeep was the second worst brand, with 146 issues while Dodge had 124. Ram matched the industry average, while Chrysler was the only FCA brand to finish above the industry average.

You can take a look at the full release of results from J.D. Power, available below. You can also click the inset image for a graphical breakdown of this year's IQS.

Continue reading Porsche, Hyundai and GM impress in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Fiat and Jeep don't

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