Today, from the Warren Truck plant north of Detroit, Ram announced  that Motor Trend had awarded the Ram 1500 as Truck of the Year, the first time any vehicle has won the Car of the Year or Truck of the Year award for two years in a row. Curt Towne, Warren Truck Assembly Plant Manager, introduced the event and Ed Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. 

Mr. Loh noted that he had gotten 628 miles from a single tank of gas (at 28.2 mpg), with around 21 miles still left in the tank, without limiting his speed (“80, 85 mph”) or driving style. “That’s game-changing efficiency and economy right there.”

Mr. Loh also praised the RamBox; he took duck fat and meat, with a bottle of whiskey, on his trip, and since alcohol cannot not be stored in the cab (by state law), the RamBox came in handy. He said that a friend who drives German luxury cars was surprised by how luxurious and comfortable the interior was.

The diesel returned up to 28 mpg on the highway, according to the magazine, which lauded the Ram 1500’s power, transmission, handling, and comfort. The addition of the diesel engine and other changes allowed Ram 1500 to compete for two years in a row, and to win for the unprecedented second consecutive year.

The Ram 1500 beat new Ford and Chevy trucks, including the Silverado and new Nissan cargo vans. “They didn’t bring game-changing technologies. They didn’t risk as much as Ram’s absolutely a huge gamble to bring diesel to the light duty market.”

Sergio Marchionne accepted the award, noting that Ram has won it for three of the last five years, and that this year marks the 75th anniversary of Warren Truck (part of the “Dodge City” complex). He also announced that the quality metrics of the Warren plant are at the highest level in their history, though one third of the workers have been on the job for less than two years.  Warren Truck employees will receive a $500 quality award bonus, possibly this week; all American workers will get this quality bonus (some will get more).

Mr. Marchionne also pointed out that Ram sales have been rising rapidly, and that the trucks have gained market share as well. He and Mr. Lowe both praised the workers at Warren Truck, and at the second Ram pickup plant near Saltillo, Mexico.

Reid Bigland, current Ram CEO, pointed out that Ram outsells the two GM pickups (GMC and Chevrolet) combined in Canada, and is the #2 best seller in the country; it has also been outperforming sales growth of the US pickup market by a factor of three. Ram 3500 can tow 7,000 pounds more than the next closest competitor. The most powerful truck on the road, with 850 lb-ft of torque, is the Ram with Cummins diesel, while the 25 mpg highway mileage of the Ram 1500 remains unsurpassed (except by Ram 1500 diesel). He ran a new advertisement, scheduled to appear within the next couple of weeks, as well.

UAW-Chrysler leader General Holiefield gave a ringing endorsement of Sergio Marchionne, and thanked him for going above and beyond in working for the company; and praised the workers at Warren for their work — after which, Mr. Marchionne thanked Mr. Holiefield, speaking without a script, for his commitment to bringing Chrysler back and his conviction that it could be done.