That's according to Automotive News, whose sources spoke on condition of anonymity. The move allows Ram to take a two-prong approach to truck sales, offering the current model as a low-cost option for fleet users while pushing retail consumers toward the new pickup. The factories that build the 1500 today – Warren, MI, and Saltillo, Mexico – will assemble around 200,000 trucks in 2018 and 65,000 in 2019 before Ram phases out the older model. Meanwhile, FCA's Sterling Heights, MI, plant will screw together 325,000 redesigned 1500s starting in 2018, with production to increase to over 400,000 units in 2019.
While Ram refused to comment when AN reached out, FCA CFO Richard Palmer hinted at the move during a conference call last week, saying "having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers' demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins."
"As we realign our capacity, we're going to be able to continue to work on improving our fleet mix," Palmer said.
Beyond making a play for fleet buyers, continuing to build the current 1500 guarantees dealerships maintain a solid inventory as Ram ramps up production of the new truck. You can check out leaked images of the redesigned Ram here. According to Automotive News, the new truck won't use aluminum, like the Ford F-150, relying on steel instead. FCA's 3.6-liter V6 will provide thrust along with turbocharged options, although there's no mention of the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Don't read too much into that, of course – we'll eat our shoe if the 1500 ditches the popular eight-cylinder. It's still too early to predict when the 2019 Ram 1500 will debut, but it will likely happen in 2018 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit or perhaps at a non-auto show event.