According to a source within the massive Sterling Heights assembly complex, pilot builds of the 2019 Ram 1500 “DT” have been coming on down the line — a good sign for those who worried that the pickup might have been delayed.

2019 Ram 1500 grille

The news indicates that the plant will be ready for the new Ram in the first quarter of 2018, when the Ram itself is to be finalized and ready for production. In short, the new truck won’t have to wait for the plant to be finished up and tested out.

FCA employees and suppliers told Allpar they were optimistic about the new pickup. There have been signs that FCA plans to turn exports from a small niche into a much bigger business, as well.

Ram 1500 split tailgate

The next-generation Ram will also yield an SUV, the Jeep Wagoneer (and possibly a Chrysler version), but not for one or two more years; while the Ram 1500 will be made in Sterling Heights, the Wagoneer and any pickup overflow will be built in the current Ram plant in Warren, Michigan, right up the street from the Sterling Heights plant. SHAP itself used to make the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger, but has been heavily reworked for body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive trucks.