Ecdysiasts aren’t the only ones who peel things back one glove at a time. Automakers routinely begin testing new products on public roads wearing heavy camouflage, slowing stripping layers off as they come closer to production.
So it has gone with the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup, which is expected to make its formal debut for the 2019 model-year, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles optimistic enough about its prospects to expand production capacity. Among other things, the new Ram truck will begin rolling out of FCA’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan that, until recently, was producing the Chrysler 200 sedan.
While there’s still enough camouflage here to keep some of the next Ram’s naughty bits concealed, we’ve been able to track down some key details about the 2019 pickup, starting with the fact that the 1500 will continue to be made almost entirely out of steel, FCA declining to take its lead from Ford’s big F-150 and migrate to an aluminum-intensive design.
That said, expect to see some other steps taken to reduce weight and boost fuel economy with the next-gen truck, possibly by shifting from more conventional mid-grade steel to ultra-high-strength alloys that can be stamped out of thinner sheets.
(For Ram, tungsten is the new gold (or platinum, for that matter). For the story, Click Here.)
The basic design of the new Ram 1500 isn’t expected to shift much from the model we already know, though there has been some speculation that the Euro-American automaker could add a new Mega Cab option – something that seems buoyed by the seemingly massive cab layout in these spy shots. Of course, that could also reflect a diversionary use of camo.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is expected to get new headlight and taillights, the front lamps growing more slit-like. We’ll have to wait to see if LED options are available, though the back lamps clearly go with that technology. The headlamps will frame the latest version of the Dodge crosshair grille.
Is that really a new Mega Cab? What seems clear is that buyers will be offered a larger cabin option than in the past, according to sources.
The camo, meanwhile, does a good job of covering up the new pickup’s tailgate. In the past that might not have mattered, but Ram has put in for a patent on a split design that could open, barn door-style, or fold-down like a more traditional tailgate. It could show up, at least as an option, on the 2019 truck.
(Click Here for the details about FCA’s diesel problems.)
Under the skin, the new Ram 1500 will share the same body-on-frame platform used by the new Jeep Wrangler set to make its debut in a few months. There are expected to be a number of steps taken to reduce chassis weight, as well.
Don’t be surprised to see more engine options on the next-gen 1500, as well. With the majority of Ford F-150 pickups rolling off the lot with V-6s, Ram is likely to try to pick up on that trend, though it will continue to offer conventional V-8 options, as well, including the big 5.7-liter Hemi.
The real question is whether the truck will continue to be offered with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Right now, FCA is battling the feds over allegations it rigged diesel emissions testing, much like Volkswagen did. If the maker ultimately loses its case it could be forced to pull the oil-burner out of production.
The Ram 1500 will be a critical offering for FCA’s truck brand. Demand for pickups has actually held solid despite the downturn of the overall U.S. motor vehicle market. Ford, which suffered a sharp slump in sales in August actually saw sales of the F-150 rise 15%.
(To see more about EV maker Tesla adding a pickup to its line-up, Click Here.)
Ram hopes to cut into Ford’s share. But it also will be going up against new versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, so 2019 could be a good year for picky pickup buyers.