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Dodge Rams going to Australia via Holden?

by Bill Cawthon on

Rams are reportedly to be sent to Australia, where there is a growing market for big pickups — but conversions to right-hand drive and other changes will be made by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), a company with ties to General Motors.


According to, Fiat Chrysler New Zealand (FCNZ) has exclusive rights to convert and sell Ram pick-ups in Australia. FCNZ was created two years ago by Clyde Campbell and Neville Crichton; Mr. Campbell would not identify the conversion house. ( referred to the trucks as “Dodge Rams.”)

Holden Special Vehicles, which is owned by the Walkinshaw Group, can take on contract work outside of GM, and the rumor mill says HSV is already working with Fiat Chrysler New Zealand on the conversion process.

Prior to this new arrangement, Ram trucks could be imported to Australia only via the gray market, and sales were limited to 200 vehicles per year under a special dispensation in Australian law. Now, since the converted Rams would meet all Australian vehicle requirements, there wouldn’t be any limits of the number of vehicles that can be sold.

The first models are allegedly to go on sale in September this year. More details and prices will be announced closer to the launch, but it’s estimated the first trucks will sell for about $120,000 Australian, equivalent to about $92,000 in U.S. currency.

2014 Ram 1500 diesel

Large, American-style pickups are in demand in the mining industry, which needs heavy duty trucks, and by grey nomads, older Australians retirees who have sold their homes to follow a life on the road, picking fruit. The grey nomads typically live in large travel trailers and need large pickups to tow them. A Ram pickup has a higher payload and far more towing capacity than the smaller pickups currently on the Australian market.

Additional information supplied by New Zealander Graeme Roberts of

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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