Archive for the 'Ram and other trucks' Category
by David Zatz • Posted on July 25th, 2014
Ram spokesman Nick Cappa wrote,
We have received inquiries on weight reduction regarding half-ton trucks and a 2014 vs 2015 weight comparison from one of our competitors. … The 2014 Ram 1500 uses aluminum in strategic locations including the hood, suspension components, engine components and drive shaft.
The more interesting story is our apples to apples weight numbers. We selected the Laramie trim since content is similar to [Ford F-150] Lariat. The Ram 1500 Laramie is a very nicely equipped truck and within our top three trim levels. The data below reflects 43-pound side steps and about 18 pounds for fuel to align with our competitor’s claim. All weights include fluids (lubricants, coolant, etc.)
[In a] straight up comparison, the Ram 1500 Laramie weighs about 273 pounds more than an aluminum-bodied truck. We expect the weight comparison differences to shrink in other trim levels and configurations.
While Mr. Cappa did not mention Ford by name, Ram’s F-word rival’s shopping site lists weights for the model 2014 (not 2015) F-150, but only for the “Super Crew” cab with the 5’6” bed — and these curb weights are likely for the lowest trim level available with each engine. The weights vary from 5,128 lb (base V6) to 5,615 lb (turbo V6, which is heavier than the 5-liter V8). There is also a 5,774-lb 6.2 liter option. The 2015 model-year trucks are expected to lose up to 733 lb.
While Ford has made many headlines for their extensive use of aluminum, which likely was partly enabled by their hiring of much of the Plymouth Prowler’s engineering team some years back, Ram is expected to increase its own use of aluminum and to find other methods of weight reduction, as automakers race to cut fuel economy without lowering capacity. With the weights this close, some owners may choose to avoid the higher repair costs of aluminum body panels.
Ford has promised to use SAE-standard tow ratings for its 2015 pickups, but had made and backed away from that promise earlier, as well. Ram has already released their SAE standard tow ratings, revealing that their existing ratings had been in line with the SAE numbers; Toyota switched some time ago on their Tundra.
by Bill Cawthon • Posted on July 23rd, 2014
While the new Ram ProMaster is still getting established in the North American market, a new Ducato, the basis for the ProMaster, is getting established in Europe.
Launched at the Balocco Test Centre in Vercelli, Italy, on May 12, the sixth generation of the Ducato is the latest in a line that stretches back over 33 years and 2.6 million sales.
Fiat calls the new exterior style ‘car design’ and it’s likely to be more satisfying to the conservative tastes that mark buyers of commercial vehicles. The new LED headlight design is a major factor in the refinement of the front-end styling.
As was true of the previous model, the new Ducato is offered in a wide range of configurations including commercial vans, passenger vans and chassis-cabs. Vans can be ordered in four different lengths and three different heights while chassis-cabs are available in six lengths.
No telling when the new version might hit the U.S. market but Allpar did a bit of imagineering to present what the next-generation ProMaster might look like.
Even though the newest version of the Fiat Scudo commercial van was launched just last year, Fiat S.p.A. has already announced plans for its successor. On Tuesday, a company press release said it had signed an agreement with Renault to build a replacement.
The current Scudo, which slots between the Doblo and Ducato in the Fiat Professional line, is built under a joint-venture agreement between Fiat and PSA Peugeot Citroën. In addition to being offered as the Fiat Scudo and Peugeot Expert, the van is sold as the Citroën Dispatch and the Toyota ProAce. The vans are built at the Fiat-PSA-Peugeot joint-venture Sevel Nord plant in France.
The companies announced last year that the joint-venture agreement would not be renewed when it expires in 2017, so new arrangements had to be made.
The new van will most likely be built on a variation of the platform used for the Renault Trafic but Fiat says it will be the one to develop the new vehicle.
While the Trafic was never sold as a commercial van in the U.S., we did get some first-generation chassis-cabs that were delivered as completely knocked-down kits to Winnebago. The RV manufacturer converted them into the Winnebago LeSharo and the Itasca Phasar sold from 1983 to 1992.
The current Trafic is also sold as the Nissan Primastar and the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro. Current scuttlebut says it’s likely the GM will stay on board for the new van and Nissan is pretty much a given.
by Bill Cawthon • Posted on July 22nd, 2014
Chrysler Group will proactively recall an undetermined number of 2006-2007 Jeep Commanders and 2005-2007 Grand Cherokees in connection with an investigation of ignition-switch performance.
A preliminary investigation suggests an outside force, usually attributed to contact with the driver’s knee, may move ignition keys from the “on” position in certain model-year 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. This could cause engine stall, which would reduce braking power and make steering more difficult. In addition, certain safety features such as frontal airbags might be disabled.
Chrysler engineers are working to develop a remedy.
Chrysler Group is aware of a single reported accident and a relatively small number of complaints involving 0.015 percent of the subject vehicle population. The company is unaware of any related injuries but is committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution.
The precise number of affected vehicles remains to be determined but approximately 792,300 are implicated – 649,900 in the U.S.; 28,800 in Canada; 12,800 in Mexico and 100,800 outside of the NAFTA region.
The Commander was discontinued in 2010 and the Grand Cherokee has since been completely redesigned; newer models are not subject to the recall.
Owners of these vehicles are advised to assure there is clearance between their knees and the keys. As a further precaution, they are advised to remove all items from their key rings, leaving only their ignition keys.
The Company expects to identify owners of the affected vehicles and advise them by mid-September when they may schedule service. All costs of the repair will be borne by Chrysler Group. This timing complies with regulations governing recalls and owner notification.
In addition, Chrysler Group is recalling an estimated 21,000 vehicles to inspect and, if necessary, replace the shocks and/or struts.
Included in the recall are 2014 Ram 1500 pickups, 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUVs and 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans assembled within a 16-day period ending June 6 of 2014.
The campaign is being conducted to identify vehicles that may have been assembled using a shipment of shocks and struts that do not meet the Company’s quality standards. The issue was brought to the company’s attention by a supplier.
There is the potential for components to break free from their mounts, which could lead to reduced shock damping and possible loss of vehicle control. However, Chrysler Group is unaware of any related injuries, accidents or complaints.
An estimated 14,300 vehicles are in the U.S.; 5,300 are in Canada; 160 are in the Mexico and 2,000 are outside the NAFTA region.
Chrysler Group will contact affected customers and advise them when service is available. All costs related to the campaign will be borne by the Company.
Customers with additional questions on either of these actions may call Chrysler Group’s Customer Information Center at 1-800-853-1403.
by David Zatz • Posted on July 16th, 2014
Ram will become the first pickup truck maker to adopt the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) J2807 tow-rating system in all of its pickup trucks — Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500.
Ram’s current conservative rating practices mean that its towing capacities will remain unchanged, or will actually increase, under J2807, which was meant to be an industry standard. Ford and GM both committed to move to J2807 some time ago; Ford reneged on prior commitments, and GM quickly followed suit.
Ram still has the two most fuel-efficient large pickups on the market. Using stringent SAE methods, the company certified the 28-mpg (highway) diesel Ram 1500 as having 9,200 lb of towing capacity, while the gasoline-V6 Ram 1500 (25 mpg highway) is rated at 7,600 lb. The maximum Ram 1500 towing is with the Hemi V8 and eight-speed automatic: 10,650 lb.
Ram 2500 retains its best in class SAE towing of 17,970 lb, with a 3,970 maximum payload. Ram 3500 Heavy Duty has a best-in-class SAE 30,000 lb of towing capacity, backed by the Cummins diesel, producing 385 horsepower and 850 lb.-ft. of torque. With the 6.4 liter Hemi, Ram 2500 can tow up to 16,300 lb, and Ram 3500 can tow up to 16,420 lb.
Ram CEO Reid Bigland said, “Because our customers asked for it, every single 2015 model year pickup truck Ram sells will come with a trailer-tow rating achieved using SAE’s J2807 testing protocols. No other automaker can make that claim.”
Finalized SAE towing specifications now include trucks up to 14,000 GVWR. Mike Cairns, director of Ram Truck Engineering, said, “For too long, an uneven playing field existed and towing capacities went unchecked. We’re happy to be the only pickup truck manufacturer to align with the SAE J2807 towing standard across our pickup truck line up.”
The SAE J2807 standard includes dynamic and performance criteria, with requirements for 0-60 mph times, tackling the Davis Dam Grade while maintaining at least 40 mph for single-rear-wheel trucks and 35 mph for dual-rear-wheel trucks, a constant radius understeer test while increasing speed, and a sway maneuver using aggressive steering input. All Ram trucks have a five year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
by Bill Cawthon • Posted on June 27th, 2014
During yesterday’s reveal of the new Ram ProMaster City, Ram CEO Reid Bigland frequently used the term “Best in Class.”
Always up for a challenge, Allpar obtained the specifications for the ProMaster City’s primary rivals, the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200. The Chevrolet City Express is a rebadged NV200 and shares its specifications except for price.
Because final ProMaster City specifications have not yet been finalized, Allpar used the figures presented during the reveal where possible and filled in the blanks with specifications for the Fiat Doblò Cargo long wheelbase (LWB).
The Ram ProMaster City is significantly larger than the base Ford Transit Connect so the LWB version of the Transit Connect was used for the comparison. In addition, the Transit Connect has an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine that rivals the Tigershark in the ProMaster City. The optional engine adds $795 to the Transit Connect’s sticker.
As far as any commitment to pricing, Bigland would say only that the Ram ProMaster City will be competitive. Based on prices from Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet, that would indicate a base price, including destination charges, between $22,000 and $23,000.
In 2013, Chrysler, Ford and Nissan sold a total of 53,222 small vans in the U.S. Though May of this year, sales totaled 23,598, up 12.6% from May 2013.
|BY THE NUMBERS: PROMASTER CITY VS. THE COMPETITION
||Ram ProMaster City
||Ford Transit Connect LWB
Chevrolet City Express
|Turning Diameter* (ft)
||Independent McP Strut
||Independent McP Strut
||Leaf, Solid Axle
||215/55 R16 BSW
|Overall Length* (in)
|Overall Width* (in)
|Overall Height* (in)
|Track F/R (in)
|Curb Weight* (lb)
|Leg Room (in)
|Hip Room (in)
|Shoulder Room (in)
|Maximum Length (in)
|Maximum Width (in)
|Width Btw. Wheelwells (in)
|Maximum Height (in)
|Step-In Height (in)
|Total Volume (cu ft)
|Passenger Volume (cu ft)
|Cargo Volume (cu ft)
|0-60 time (sec)
|Base Price incl. Destination
|*Figures calculated from European-spec Fiat Doblò LWB van
by Bill Cawthon • Posted on June 26th, 2014
The Ram ProMaster City commercial van is taking its first public bows today. Though it’s new to the North American market, it has quite a history in the rest of the world, especially in the European market where it’s known as the Fiat Doblò.
The Doblò is one of five commercial vans sold by Fiat Professional. Based on size they are the Punto, Fiorino, Doblo, Scudo and Ducato. In addition, there are commercial versions of the Panda, Bravo and 500L with open load floors instead of rear seats.
The Doblò was introduced at the 2000 Paris Auto and went on sale as a 2001 model. The original Doblò shared a platform with the Fiat Palio and Punto and was built in Turkey, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam. Four different engines were offered with the base being a 64-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-banger. Options included a 91-hp, 1.6-liter four that ran on natural gas; a 68-hp diesel and a 104-hp turbodiesel.
For the 2006 model year, the Doblò got a facelift that included an upgraded 1.4-liter base engine that produced 76 hp and three new Multijet diesels with up to 120 hp.
The current generation of the Doblò went into production in 2009 and appeared in early 2010. Unlike the previous version, the newest Doblò is built only in Fiat’s joint-venture Tofaş plant in Bursa, Turkey and the Fiat plant in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The 2010 Doblò was a complete makeover built on the Small Wide Platform jointly developed by Fiat and Opel. The same factory that builds the Doblò also produces the Opel/Vauxhall Combo van.
A variation of the Doblò platform also underpins the upcoming Jeep Renegade.
On July 26, 2010, the one-millionth Doblò rolled off the assembly line at the Tofaş plant. That averages out to about 100,000 per year since its introduction, equal to 32% of the total U.S. sales of all commercial and passenger vans in 2013.
The newest member of the family, the Doblò XL, was introduced at the 2012 Commercial Vehicle IAA in Hannover, Germany. The largest member of the family, it retains the Doblò’s unique, bi-link rear suspension, which improves load handling.
Although we probably won’t see them all over here, the Doblò is offered in a variety of configurations including a drop-side pickup called the “Workup” and a chassis-cab. Fiat says there are about 500 possible Doblò configurations.
The Fiat Doblò Cargo Maxi and Fiat Ducato just took top honors in their categories in the KEP* commercial vehicle of the year competition in Germany. This is just the latest of the awards won by Fiat vans, which have won the International Van of the Year honors five times, tying it with Ford. The Doblò has won twice, with the 2006 facelift and the 2011 Doblò Cargo. That ties the Doblò with the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Vito and Volkswagen Transporter. Only the larger Ford Transit, with three trophies, has won more often.
All of the Ram ProMaster City vans will be built at the Tofaş factory. Ram borrowed a page from the Ford playbook and all of them will be built and shipped as passenger versions in order to dodge the 25% “chicken tax” tariff created back when Lyndon Johnson and Charles DeGaulle were having a trade tiff. The vans will be converted to panel-side trucks here in the U.S. and the seats and windows will be sent back to Turkey for reuse.
*KEP stands for “Kurier, Express und Postdienstbranche,” which is German for “Courier, Express and Postal service industry.”
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