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TAWA gives top honors to Heavy-Duty Ram, Dakota and Patriot

by Bill Cawthon on

The Texas Auto Writers Association named the Heavy-Duty Ram Pickup the “Heavy Duty Pickup Truck of Texas” at their annual truck Rodeo. At the event, held outside of San Antonio this year, the Dodge Dakota was selected “Mid-Size Pickup of Texas” and the Jeep Patriot earned the “Compact SUV of Texas” title.

Selections were made by the 40+ TAWA members, all of whom are working automotive journalists, after two days of on- and off-road trials. All entries are evaluated on performance, styling, comfort and real-world utility.

“The TAWA Truck Rodeo is the most comprehensive evaluation of new trucks and SUVs in the country and manufacturers consider it a great honor to win their category,” Harold Gunn, President of TAWA, said. Gunn also noted, “The wins for Ram Heavy Duty and Dodge Dakota are significant because our truck rodeo offers journalists a chance to judge vehicles in side-by-side comparisons and these top awards were given based on individual impressions and by secret ballot.”

“We’re very proud of these awards; they affirm our leadership in the truck market,” said Fred Diaz, CEO for Dodge’s Ram Brand, said. “In a head-to-head competition, our all-new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty un-seated last year’s winner, right in the pickup truck capital of the U.S. Ram is not only the best heavy-duty truck we’ve ever built; it’s the best heavy-duty truck on the market, hands down. We’re also proud that the Dodge Dakota won its category, affirming Dakota’s capability and versatility.”

Michael Manley, CEO – Jeep Brand, echoed Diaz’s comments. “This is certainly an honor for Jeep. We’re proud the Patriot proved its off-road prowess at the Texas Truck Rodeo. The Trail Rated® Jeep Patriot 4×4 is hands down the most capable and affordable SUV in the compact segment.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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