The full-size Ram 1500 pickup is bound to receive a massive facelift in spring 2017, although Chrysler Group has no concrete plans to replace steel body panels with aluminum until a full redesign after 2020, industry sources told Reuters.
Two sources privy with the Chrysler’s plans told Reuters that the carmaker is planning to go with steel when it updates the big Ram pickup in 2017 – while its rivals GM and Ford shifting to lighter aluminum body panels this fall and in the fall of 2018.
By doing so, Chrysler would not have to risk alienating commercial users, many of which believe that steel is more rugged and durable than aluminum. Chrysler could also forego the need to spend money just to convert steel parts to aluminum.
GM and Ford could offset the cost by spreading them over more vehicles. The Detroit 3 all rely on big trucks and SUVs for a big chunk of their profits. At Chrysler, big trucks and SUVs account for almost 100 percent of pretax earnings.
Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne remarked in May that using aluminum "is better suited in other vehicles than pickup trucks." Chrysler at the time confirmed an update of the duty Ram 1500 in 2017.
However, Chrysler five-year future product plan unveiled in May failed to mention of when the Ram would receive a complete redesign. Chrysler launched the current Ram 1500 in late 2008 as a 2009 model.
The truck has since gone through several upgrades since then. Industry sources privy with Fiat Chrysler’s plans told Reuters Chrysler is unlikely to give the Ram a full redesign before 2021 at the earliest.