Ram Trucks and Its Storied Past
The Ram Truck brand from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has quite a storied past, with its humble beginnings as part of the Dodge D-Series pickup line until the beginning of the last decade, when Ram spun off and became its own brand. Given its success in the past ten years since Ram’s spinoff, other automakers are closely studying the process to see if any of their vehicles can be turned into their own brand, like the Chevy Corvette for example. The pickup segment is hotter than ever, and Ram’s sales have been skyrocketing every year, with a worldwide 2019 total of 730,457 units. Here’s how Ram and its pickups have changed themselves and the market over its 35 years (and counting) on the market.
Before the names Dodge and Ram were inevitably joined together, Dodge offered a D/W series of pickups built from 1961 to 1993. Sure, the pickups were mildly successful, but Dodge didn’t really devote any of its efforts to personal trucks until Ford and GM took over the segment and gained a significant lead. By 1981, the first Dodge-Ram pickups were introduced, with the half-ton pickup labeled as the “150,” the three-fourths-ton as the “250,” and the one-ton pickup as the “350.” As the Ford F-series took over in popularity, Dodge-Ram changed the nomenclature to what we know it as today — the Ram 1500, Ram 2500, and Ram 3500.
Dodge realized part of what made its Ram vehicles special was the versatility of offerings, thus it began varying its engine options to increase popularity. By 1988, Dodge had replaced the slant-6 engine on its Ram trucks with a 3.9-liter fuel-injected V6 engine and a new 5.2-liter V8 with electronic fuel injection as well. Additionally, Dodge also dropped the Ram 100 model by 1990, due to the debut and subsequent success of the Dodge Dakota model. What would eventually become the Ram 1500 had its foundations built on this moment.
Changes came and went as the Dodge Ram lineup progressed through the years — 1991 saw the introduction of a new grille, engine upgrades included a 5.9-liter V8 engine with higher compression cylinders, and multi-port fuel injection. By 1994, the second-generation Dodge Ram found huge success, with sales topping 480,000 in 1996 and peaking until 1999 when GM and Ford introduced stiffer competition. In 2009, while Ram was still a part of Dodge, the brand introduced the fourth-generation model, but by 2010 Ram was well on its way to transition as its own brand.
Once Ram became its own entity — as a marketing ploy to stop falling sales during the Great Recession, sales picked up and by 2014 Ram was back to selling 440,000 units. Ram began to offer more engine options and trim levels than ever before, with a lineup of engines that included the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a 3.7-liter PowerTech V6, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel option, a 5.7- and 6.4-liter HEMI V8s, and the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel inline-six. “Dodge” was removed from all Ram trucks by 2013, and by 2019 an all-new generation was introduced.
The latest-generation offers over seven trims and numerous configurations, ranging from cabin size to special edition trimmings, including luxurious wood and leather. The latest Ram pickups are stronger than ever, and currently remain in the running of the top three pickups in the U.S. What does the future hold for Ram? A smaller pickup, possibly borrowing the old Dakota name, appears to be in the works if the current rumors have any truth to them. Automotive experts are also convinced that the next logical step would be for Ram to explore an electric powertrain, and they’ve already got a plug-in hybrid prototype from 2010 that they can pick up from.
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Photo Source/Copyright: Ram & Dodge