• Nov 4, 2009
2007 Dodge Ram BFT Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

In addition to the passing note about considering a unibody replacement for the slow-selling Dodge Dakota, Ram CEO Fred Diaz said (with conviction...!) that they are strongly considering entering the heavy-duty 18-wheeler market with the Ram brand.

Interesting, no? The consumer-grade pickup that popularized the big rig styling on a smaller scale might make the jump up the ranks and into the heavy-hauler market. In the past, Dodge has teamed up with both Sterling and Freightliner – both of which are big players in the large truck marketplace – and the Ram brand is sure to keep up its current partnership with heavy truck engine maker Cummins. In other words, it might not be as big a leap as you may at first think to see a Ram-badged 18-wheeler rolling down a highway near you within the next few years.




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  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Are you guys dumb enough to think that Fiat/Chrysler would develop new 18 wheelers? They would come from here:http://www.iveco.com/Pages/welcome.aspx
      (Fiats heavy trucks)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have always loved Dodge Ram trucks! Especially when they changed it to look like a big rig. This is the only model that I like from the Dodge brand and I would buy if I had money and the money to fuel it. The Ram is cool and this is a good venture, from my perspective, for Chrysler.
      stealthebeatles
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would be the ONLY thing that could justify making Ram it's own brand. Otherwise, it is just a stupid move that will add unnecessary costs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      First of all, Dodge Dakota should be looking at Toyota Tacoma as its benchmark. If sales are that bad with the Dakota now, they can only get worse with a unibody structure.

      Now, I understand the unibody structure saves manufacturing expense and improves gas mileage; but adding a gas hog 18 wheeler to the mix only begs for "the stupidest idea on earth today award". Why doesn't Marchionne opt for the ready to roll Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick medium duty trucks first? Isuzu passed that deal up, so maybe Sergio can pick up the pieces on the cheap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The last style change of the Durango was not an improvement (my opinion). I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with the sales figures. Taking away the frame would be a mistake as well. It makes for a nice mid size hauler that a uni-body would detract from. I don't understand the "it's too big" mentality though (i.e. Howard H).

        I hope the interior components were drastically improved from my 2000 model. Very good drivetrain but the inside has sucked. I've replaced 3 malfunctioning door locks now, one of the power windows intermittenly fails and the glove box jammed shut the other day. Hope I don't get a ticket before I figure out how to get it open again.

        Jamie, is that really you in the picture? If you look like that and can talk shop the way you do I think a few "Tim Taylor" style Neandertal grunts would be in order!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am majoring in Big Business by focusing on the Big 3; and I minor in Monkey Business on the side.
      • 5 Years Ago
      First of all, Dodge Dakota should be looking at Toyota Tacoma as its benchmark. If sales are that bad with the Dakota now, they can only get worse with a unibody structure.

      Now, I understand the unibody structure saves manufacturing expense and improves gas mileage; but adding a gas hog 18 wheeler to the mix only begs for "the stupidest idea on earth today award". Why doesn't Marchionne opt for the ready to roll Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick medium duty trucks first? Isuzu passed that deal up, so maybe Sergio can pick up the pieces on the cheap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lest we forget... Dodge mead semi-tractors well into the 1960s, maybe longer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That might as well have been the last century.

        Oh wait, it was...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This could be way for the Fiat Iveco medium to heavy duty line could come stateside? I would doubt new development of a line is possible nor the purchase of the GMs medium.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Someone beat me to the Iveco comment. It is a great opportunity with low development costs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The naysayers are crawling out of the woodwork. Too bad that anything that have to say is so full of Bovine Excrement that it isn't even worth reading. Please say something useful. If Chrysler management will spend 6 hours discussing their plans for the next few years, it is a pure positive in my opinion. It means that they actually spent a while thinking about what they were going to do; and more important how to do it, in detail.


      FIAT's Marchione has professed he is in it for the long haul, but talk is cheap, and actions count for more.. He really feels that FIAT Group needs size, to compete and survive. And the Iveco/ Dodge truck linkup adds genuine world size to the truck business,and helps buttress his statements.

      Adopting the current generation Mercedes RWD architecture, developed with Chrysler for the CLK, 300 and GC and G series SUVS, and spreading it throughout the Fiat empire, makes absolute sense. something that GM was too stupid to see. Walking off with the GEMA I-4s, the Pentastar V-6 and the truly world-class leading Mercedes current generation RWD chassis architecture represent billions of dollars of foregone and perhaps unduplicatable costs for the FIAT empire. Getting brand spanking new engine factories that can build them both is more gravy. If the only thing that came of it was Alfa 159s and Lancias used them, it would be asset stripping; but Chrysler and Dodge models will use them and all, will be built in American former Chrysler factories. Once again that is NOT asset stripping, confirmed by actions, not talk.

      People overlook what the addition of "Multiair" VVL and throttle-less operation offers to both Chrysler and FIAT. It makes sense for Both to have the most modern ICE engine families of all the large automakers. The Chrysler engines are virtually brand new, designed for turbo charging, and higher pressure HCCI diesel like pressures, but lacking the money to add finishing touches to DOHC, VVT, all -alloy, 4-valve, DI engines spanning the complete range of engine families that FIAT does not have. Now they will have VVL and throttle-less operation, too. Can diesel-like HCCI be far behind, given that every pre-requisite has been satisfied?

      Thankfully asset stripping doesn't seem to be his only desire.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Multiair is much ado about nothing. Fiat hasn't shown it in a dual bank engine.
        The Genesis is at least as good as the LX, LX might be more versatile, time will tell.

        GEMA is somewhat disappointing.
        If it is going to lack polish, at least make big power. Make a 150hp, 130ft-lbs 1.9 liter (with balance shafts) to replace 1.8 [who wants to rev to 6500 if you don't have balance shafts?], and make a 165hp, 150ft-lbs 2.1 to replace 2.0.
        I think KIA could/would do this [hopefully]. That kind of move would really show how bad the Mazda3 engines are.

        The pentastar engine hasn't shown that it will competitive with the outgoing engine series. Wasn't the '06 the first year of Toyota's 2gr-fe?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let's see. The current 18-wheeler market is fiercely competitive. The existing manufacturers have great customer loyalty. The customers require impressive reliability. It will take billions to enter the market and years before they break even. Fiat/Chrysler is awash in debt and low in cash. Their car business in the US needs huge investments in cash and new products right now.

      So now they want to enter the 18-wheeler market. Yeah. There's a plan.

      A plan for dissolution. What in the world are they smoking?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jamie: Ford has $23B on hand. You think $5.7B is enough to 1) operate Chrysler, 2) start a new brand - Ram, 3) refresh all the Chrysler models, and 4) start an 18-wheeler franchise? It costs about $1B just to develop a new mid-size sedan.

        Nope. Not gonna happen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jamie:
        Bringing in $1.7 billion in cash is very hard to do when you're not selling much. The article you linked to said they need to ship 1.65 million units, while their annual rate this year is about one million flat. In the same article, they say they expect between brake even to $500 million profit this year (these two statements don't match?), but this is EBITDA, which means no taking into account the cost of the tooling needed to make the cars. I would imagine the $1.7 came from having virtually no capital spending whatsoever between the time it exited bankruptcy and now, as they have not introduced new models (new production lines) and probably didn't do much R&D as Fiat decided what direction they were heading. Now that they have the plan out, they'll be spending a lot more to get these products designed, tested, built, and out the door, something they certainly cannot do while continuing to post sales declines. It's either increase cash or new product for them, not both.
        Also, I wouldn't go anywhere near a company who says it needs to sell 1.65 million units to be profitable, currently sells 1 million, and yet expects to brake even.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jared

        I'll believe you when you tell me how Chrysler increased its booty from $4 billion to $5.7 billion in one quarter considering that their sales were down 32%.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Didn't autoblog just report on a recent study that found 18 wheeler buyers are not concerned with brands and are very open to new companies?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think they should rethink making class 8 trucks. The dakota has grown too big and heavy. There are full size trucks from the competition with better payload and fuel mileage ratings. Why would anyone buy a less capable truck that uses more fuel?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fiat owns the Iveco corporation. A major producer of commercial trucks and diesel engines in Europe and other parts of the world. A Ram Class 8 truck would likely be a Iveco with a Ram badge stuck to it.
      Problems I see are Iveco's are mostly cab over configuration which are not popular in the "18 wheeler" market in the states and Iveco engines are unknown to US buyers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Industrial Vehicles Corporation (aka IVECO) was my first thought too. And the remarks regarding COE are comprehensible. So I guess, they'll start with the IVECO Daily to replace the Sprinter that will be marketed as Mercedes-Benz soon. The Daily is available from 2.8 to 6 metric tons. All are equipped with various versions of the SOFIM engine family that will also play a role in current Jeeps. From there they'll have to see if it makes sense to bring the 7.5 to 12 metric ton "dispatch" trucks to the US. 18 wheelers are a long way if started with the Daily, so I do not think they'll enter the "heavy end" too soon.

        A replacement for the Sprinter and maybe a little smaller FWD cousin (Ducato) equipped with SOFIM diesels and maybe LPG engines are more relevant in the short term.
        • 5 Years Ago
        COE's don't sell well in the N.A. market enven at the class 5/6 range! Iveco was sold here for a time being if I remember right but it is not an easy thing to enter into a maket with long established players, even if Dodge did make tractor's (the semi kind) a long time ago.

        Hino, with all the mite of Toyota behind it, has not had an easy time entering the N.A. medium duty market! they are not even close to being at their original sales forecast in place when they launched about seven years ago.

        Putting a dealer network together would be a real chore as well. With Sterling shuting down recently (part of Freightliner) their good dealers have been snaped up by the competitors so it would seem to require a significant effort to put the distribution network in place.

        As for purchasing the GM medium duty business there would be a lot of work there as well. And don't think for a minute that the other players in the segment are not going after all of the GM business that was left on the table!

        All of the speculation is really moot as in 12 to 18 months there will be a big "For Sale" sign in front of the Auburn Hills HQ!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Iveco do make some good large "sprinter" like vans too, so that could make some sense if they are looking to replace the current Sprinter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What does Dodge Ram BFT stand for? Big F***ing Truck?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That'd be my guess. It fits the Dodge Ram perfectly.
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