Back in 2009, when Ram was plucked from Dodge to become a stand-alone division, it was considered a gamble—and far from a sure thing. Pundits thought that the notion of a brand dedicated to pickup trucks and commercial vans was, to say the least, an odd decision. Especially after the financial bailouts most of the Detroit-based accepted when the trend was to consolidate brands to streamline automakers’ offerings, but Chrysler (now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [FCA]) was adding a new one.
Truth is, that move has reaped continued benefits for this manufacturer since then. Ram pickups specifically have seen increases in sales annually. Ram trucks have long held a place on North American farms—particularly since the introduction of the Hemi and Cummins turbo-diesel engines. Customers today are offered a range of engine options depending on the pickups’ intended usage—across the lineup! There is tremendous loyalty to the brand from practically every imaginable sector—the service industry, farmers, weekend warriors and yes, even urban dwellers who prefer not only the utility but the luxury and technology today’s trucks offer.
Jim Morrison was named head of Ram Brand, FCA North America in February 2016. In this position, he has responsibility for sales and marketing strategic operations for the company’s truck brand in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We sat down with the born in Fredericton, New Brunswick Ram executive at the recent Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) in February.
Mr. Morrison attended CIAS to introduce the all-new 2019 Ram 1500.
“This pickup becomes the benchmark for durability, technology, efficiency, and convenience with features never before offered in a pickup,” stated Mr. Morrison. Overall weight for the Ram 1500 has been reduced by 225 pounds. The truck’s new frame uses advanced materials and engineering to eliminate 100 pounds while increasing stiffness and durability.
“With the changes to materials and vehicle dynamics, this now results in 12,750 pounds of towing capability and 2,300 pounds of payload.” Significant numbers. Further, an all-new eTorque system delivers improved fuel efficiency in both the V6 and V8 configurations.
Speaking with pride, the long-time FCA manager continued, “Every 2019 Ram 1500 is equipped with a fully electronic TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission through a wide spread of gear ratios that keeps engine rpm in the right range for the task—whether putting in a full day of off-road work on the farm or construction site or highway cruising between cities on your daily commute.”
In addition and reflecting the popularity of the “sport” trim among Canadian truck buyers, Mr. Morrison singled out the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport—a model exclusive to the Canadian market and features unique exterior design cues, interior treatments, and custom options. You see, 2017 was a very good year for the Ram brand in Canada—103,843 units sold including trucks and commercial vans—so a unique-to-country marque should come as no surprise to the truck-buying public. “Achieving sales of more than 100,000 vehicles sold in this country was a fantastic feat. A true testament to our designers, engineers, our terrific dealer network, and of course, our loyal customers!”
Having been with what’s now known as FCA for more than 20 years, Mr. Morrison has seen many changes within the lineup. What is his particular favourite Ram product? “Great question! These days I’m driving a black Ram Rebel.”
“Although I’ve only been driving this truck for a few weeks, I’m personally really impressed. The drivability has improved—in fact, even my wife and older children have noticed the difference over last year’s model. Too many enhancements to mention anything specific, but overall capability, improvements within the cab including more legroom in the back… an additional upgrade would be the inclusion of Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires standard!”
Ford and the seemingly ubiquitous F-150 have been the number one choice with a broad range of customers for many years now. The gap, however, between Ram and the F-150 is decreasing every year. “That’s all a direct benefit of healthy competition between the brands, forcing our engineers and designers to produce a superior product. Going forward, the immediate beneficiaries are our loyal consumers and new conquest customers.”
David Taylor is an independent automotive lifestyle writer, producer, and editor based in Barrie, Ontario who is fascinated by innovation and technology which enhance the overall driving experience. He’s also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and is a Director of that organization’s Canadian Car of the Year Award. Follow him on Twitter @Omemeeozzie or on Instagram @hugoscaroftheweek.