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Ram releases 2012 2500, 3500, Power Wagon, Chassis Cabs

by David Zatz on

Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups

Ram has released information on its heavy duty pickups, which are available with either the 383 horsepower Hemi V8 or a 350 horsepower Cummins diesel. The Hemi is rated at 400 lb-ft of torque, the Cummins at 800 lb-ft.

The information essentially follows Allpar predictions. New for 2012 are a black front end on ST, and the corporate steering wheel; the Ram 3500 Max Tow package features best-in-class 22,750-lb. maximum trailer weight and up to 30,000 lb. Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). Ram 2500 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) increased by 600 pounds to 9,600 pounds on crew cab and Mega Cab 4×4 models equipped with the Cummins engine. A B20 (20% biodiesel) package is available to fleet customers.

The trucks offer numerous luxury features, three cab sizes, two cargo boxes, and single or dual rear wheel configurations in eight trim levels (ST, SLT, Outdoorsman, Lone Star, Big Horn, Power Wagon, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn). Exterior styling differentiates light-duty and heavy-duty models with unique grille, hood, wheels, badges, and bumpers.

The Ram Heavy Duty pickup’s larger grille incorporates a taller hood that includes louvers on each side. Access to the front winch (on Power Wagon models) and tow hooks lead to a unique front-bumper design. The new dual-rear-wheel fenders (3500 dually only) are integrated into the box stamping and offer a smooth aerodynamic appearance.

Fred Diaz, Ram CEO, said that 79% of Ram owners rate towing as extremely important, with reliability and engine performance tied for second at 73% each.

Ram’s heavy-duty share of the heavy-duty segment in 2011 (March YTD) was 23.6%, far higher than Chrysler’s overall market share. Within the Ram brand, Ram Heavy Duty is 33% of overall Ram truck sales. (Source: Polk)

On average, Ram Heavy Duty’s buyer is predominately male (90%) and 52 years old. Eighty-one percent are married and earn an average annual income of $99,000. Forty-three percent have graduated from college. (Source: 2010 Strategic Vision NVES)

Half of heavy-duty truck buyers use their trucks for work, and all use their trucks for fun and leisure.

Suspension upgrades and larger front-axle U-joints, combined with increased front GAWR, result in increased front-weight carrying capability, allowing for larger snowplows. Other tow-friendly features include trailer-tow mirrors with integrated turn signals, memory function and puddle lamps. The 7-inch x 11-inch trailer-tow mirrors offer impressive visibility with larger convex glass surfaces. Mirrors flip up and out in a vertical configuration for greater visibility around wide trailers. Trailer-tow mirrors are standard on Ram 3500 models and a Class IV receiver is standard on all Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups.

The 2012 Ram Heavy Duty tops the charts with the available, legendary 6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel engine, which produces 350 horsepower (261 kW) at 3,000 rpm and a class leading 800 lb.-ft. of torque (1083 N•m) at only 1,500 rpm. The most durable and reliable engine in its class, the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel features standard oil-change intervals of 7,500 miles.

The diesel reaches peak torque at 1,600 rpm. Peak horsepower is 350 @ 3,000 rpm. Ram HD trucks continue to be the only heavy-duty pickups to meet EPA emissions regulations without the need for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

Backing up the available 6.7-liter diesel engine is a choice of a standard G56 6-speed manual transmission or an available 6-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed manual has an ultra-low first-gear ratio, which makes it ideal for heavy hauling requirements, while the 6-speed automatic offers ease of drivability and towing.

The other choice for 2012 Ram Heavy-Duty customers is the standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engine, which delivers 383 horsepower (286 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (542 N•m) at 4,000 rpm. The 5.7-liter HEMI now comes standard with a new heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission. It offers Electronic Range Select and tow-haul capability, which provide a unique shift schedule that minimizes gear hunting while towing heavy loads. It also provides automatic downshift capability while decelerating.

Two 4×4 transfer cases are available: the NV 271, a manual unit standard on ST and Power Wagon models; and the NV273, an electric shift-on-the-fly transfer case, standard on remaining models.

A choice of four axle ratios are available on new 2012 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups, depending on equipment level: 3.42, 3.73, 4.10 or 4.56.

2012 Power Wagon

The Ram Power Wagon returns for the 2012 model year. Power Wagon features additional ground clearance, electric-locking front and rear differentials, electronic disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 32-inch BF Goodrich off-road tires, underbody skid plate protection, a 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing and a custom-built Warn® 12,000-lb. winch that is accessible through the front bumper. The Ram Power Wagon features new exterior graphics and a lower body two-tone paint scheme.

Power Wagon is equipped with features that are useful in extreme duty environments such as oil fields, border patrol, logging industry and emergency support, which validates its off-road, rugged DNA for personal and recreational use.

Ram Chassis Cabs

For 2012, the Ram Chassis Cab has a customer-selectable maximum speed. Ram Chassis Cabs can be ordered from the factory with or programmed by a Ram Truck dealer at no charge with either 55, 60, 65, 70 or 75 mph speed limits. Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks have a best-in-class standard 87 mph top speed, an important feature for fire, ambulance and other safety and rescue roles. A five-minute shutdown timer is also available.

The new Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab GCWR upgrade is part of an optional “Max Tow” package, and is available on both regular and crew cab models and in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations. The Ram Max Tow package includes a new transfer case gear set and chain and sprocket upgrades, recalibrated transmission software and an enhanced collection of thermal management devices.

Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks come equipped with the proven, commercial-grade 305 horsepower (228 kW) @ 2,900 rpm and 610 lb.-ft. (827 N•m) @ 1,600 rpm 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine.

Max Tow is available on Ram Chassis Cab trucks equipped with the optional, commercial-grade Aisin six-speed automatic transmission and 4.88 rear-axle ratio. A 4.44 axle is standard on 4500 models and not available with the Max Tow package. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab.

The 30,000-lb. GCWR gives the Ram Chassis Cab a 4,000-lb. increase in trailer-towing capabilities, up to a maximum of 22,300 lbs. on a Ram 4500 or 5500 Chassis Cab equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and unsurpassed GCWR on Class 4 Chassis Cab trucks.

Ram 3500 Chassis Cab trucks are powered by the 5.7-liter V8 and will add a new six-speed automatic transmission in 2012 that will increase GCWR to 20,000 lbs. – a 3,000-lb. increase – as well as provide an increase in fuel economy. With a standard 383 horsepower, 400 lb.-ft. of torque 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, the Ram 3500 Chassis Cab delivers best-in-class horsepower and torque. The Cummins Turbo Diesel is available an option on Ram 3500 Chassis Cab trucks.

Ram Chassis Cab trucks are specifically designed for towing, with features such as the strongest exhaust brake in the industry – 49 percent stronger than the nearest competitor – and the largest brake rotors and pads in their class. Ram has also upgraded the trailer brake controller on Chassis Cab trucks to include electric over hydraulic capability, to further enhance its towing ability.

Ram Chassis Cab trucks have best-in-class brake pad wear, brake fade resistance, and exhaust brake performance. They also deliver best-in-class fuel economy. In a recent head-to-head comparison, the Ram 5500 Chassis Cab was 10% more fuel efficient than its direct competitor – and that can add up to thousands of dollars a year in owner savings.

Among Ram’s best-in-class features are GVWR (19,500 lb), aforementioned brake performance, turning radius (10 feet better), largest fuel tank, and lowest cost of ownership. The powertrain warranty is five years or 100,000 miles.

Further improving upfitter-friendliness, 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs feature four all-new upfitter switches integrated on the instrument panel. Each of these four upfitter switches are linked to an auxiliary Power Distribution Center (PDC) located under the hood which includes one fused 20 amp battery feed and one fused relay-controlled 20 amp ignition. In addition to these feeds, the PDC supports four new customizable switches. Two switches are ignition-fed and the remaining two are either battery or ignition. Switch outputs are found under the hood in a connector for further ease of upfit. A seven-circuit trailer harness and a special upfitter jumper cable – a wiring harness for ancillary power needs — are both standard.

Ram Chassis Cab also employs an intelligently engineered, Cummins commercial-grade DEF system that is placed out of the way of upfit zones, saving time and money in the upfit process.

Based on customer demand, the Ram Truck brand has added a number of special, low-volume paint colors, including “National Fire Safety Lime Yellow” to its commercial truck palette. Ram Truck manufacturing operations can fulfill special paint orders with a minimum batch size of 10 trucks, although any one customer may order as few as a single vehicle.

Ram Truck offers the following special low-volume paint color options for 2500 through 5500 models: Black, Bright Red, Dark Brown, Detonator Yellow, Light Cream, Light Green, Omaha Orange, School Bus Yellow, Timberline Green Pearl, Yellow and National Fire Safety Lime Yellow.

The Ram Truck team is also in the process of introducing eight additional colors to the low-volume paint palette in the near future, which will bring the total to 29 available paint colors. The new colors, coming soon on Ram Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab trucks include: Case IH Red, Case Construction Power Tan, New Holland Agriculture Blue, New Holland Construction Yellow, D.T. Green, Green Angel, S.R. Green and Robin Egg Blue.

The 2012 Ram Chassis Cab with Max Tow will reach dealerships in the third quarter of 2011. Max Tow pricing will be announced closer to launch.

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