Ram 1500 to receive significant facelift in 2017, continue to use steel instead of aluminum

Article by Christian A., on August 25, 2014

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.

For the 2014 model year, the new Ram 1500 could be availed with a new 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine that is paired with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. This new mill is designed to offer a superb combination of high levels of torque and capability as well as best-in-class fuel efficiency.

Customers could avail of the 2014 Ram 1500 at a starting price at $24,200, excluding $1,095 in destination. The Ram 1500 with the 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel and TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic gearbox features a price tag that’s around $2,850 higher than the price of a similarly equipped model with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 mill and a Torqueflite 8-speed transmission.

The 2014 Ram 1500 is provided with new features like a front park assist system as well as a wide array of refinements with regard to comfort, efficiency and emissions. These include a humidity sensor, the latest air conditioning refrigerant, a variable displacement compressor and a pulse-width modulated blower. To deliver a fuel economy level that is the best in its class, the 2014 Ram 1500 boasts of a host of fuel-saving systems like stop-start system, eight-speed automatic transmission, pulse-width modulation and thermal management system. Active aerodynamics also gets a boost with its grille shutters and air suspension.

Its immediate predecessor, the 2013 Ram 1500, was able to grab a very rare hat trick in the pickup segment -- Motor Trend's Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas. The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel builds on the success of its immediate predecessor while further improving its fuel economy.

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Topics: ram, ram 1500, facelift

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