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Chrysler Recalling “Recommended” Ram Pickup

Maker points to stability control problems.

by on Jul.16, 2013

The Ram 1500 4x4 faces recall.

Chrysler Group is recalling more than 45,000 Ram 1500 pickup trucks due to a problem with their electronic stability control system.

It’s an ironic turn of events as the full-size Ram pickup was today given a “Recommended” rating and named the top truck by Consumer Reports magazine – a coveted endorsement, especially for a carmaker that has been having its problems with safety related recalls lately and one that has been struggling to reverse a long-standing reputation for quality and reliability issues.

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According to Chrysler, the recall is the result of a software glitch that could cause the vehicles’ electronic stability control system to fail when the pickups are started up. The technology is used to monitor how a vehicle is behaving on the road and can prevent a skid or rollover.  As a result, a disabled stability control system could cause a crash following an aggressive maneuver or due bad weather and road conditions.


Ram 1500 Lands Consumer Reports’ Top Rating

Endorsement could help counter Chrysler’s recall concerns.

by on Jul.16, 2013

The Ram 1500 wins a coveted endorsement, a "Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports.

After a series of recalls that have called into question Chrysler’s efforts to rebuild the company’s reputation for quality and reliability, the automaker has finally gotten a much-needed endorsement.

Following a month in which more than 2 million different Chrysler products were recalled, the maker’s new full-size truck, the Ram 1500, was named number-one in Consumer Reports magazine’s latest pickup round-up, and given a coveted “Recommended” rating.

“The Ram 1500 is surprisingly luxurious and refined—but still fully capable of doing hard work when needed,” said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice,” he said.

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The news couldn’t have come at a better time for Chrysler which last month reluctantly agreed to recall 1.2 million Jeeps that federal safety regulators alleged could catch fire in rear-end collisions.  That was followed by a collection of five additional recalls impacting about 840,000 sedans, coupes, crossovers, SUVs and minivans.


Chrysler Expecting Solid June Sales Gains

Maker anticipates 39th month of year-over-year growth.

by on Jul.01, 2013

Even while waiting for the launch of the new Jeep Cherokee, Chrysler has seen sales continue to grow, month over month.

Despite Wall Street’s unexpected setbacks and other concerns about the economy, when all the sales numbers are tabulated and reported tomorrow, Chrysler expects June will have brought another month of sales growth.

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler, said that despite having one key plant sidelined for model change and deliberate cuts in fleet sales, Chrysler expects June will bring the maker’s 39th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth in the U.S. and 43rd consecutive month of sales gains in Canada.

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“We’ve seen it pretty consistent,” said Bigland, who also oversees the Ram brand, during an interview at the Chrysler proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.  “I would say good, not weak, not great, just kind of good, in the month of June,” added Bigland.

That’s despite the problems the maker has had with its Jeep brand.


Ram Throws Down Gauntlet with New Diesel for Light-Duty Pickups

Maker has big expectations for high-torque, high-mileage oil-burner.

by on Jun.28, 2013

Brand CEO Reid Bigland with the full-size Ram 1500 pickup which gets a new diesel for 2014.

Chrysler is throwing down the gauntlet, its Ram truck division planning to become the first maker to offer a high-mileage diesel in its light-duty pickup line.

Ram, which is expected to post its 39th consecutive monthly sales increase next week, is betting that this will give it a critical advantage over competitors both domestic and foreign at a time when fuel prices continue to hover just below $4 a gallon in much of the country.  The question is whether potential buyers will balance the initial, $2,800 price premium against the longer-term savings on fuel.

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“When you look at the psyche of pickup truck owners,” Reid Bigland, the CEO of the Ram division, said  during a preview of the new powertrain, “they’re more aware of the benefits of a diesel engine” than the general U.S. population.


Diaz Defection Good News for Nissan, But Big Trouble for Chrysler

Are further defections facing Chrysler’s overworked management team?

by on Apr.15, 2013

Fred Diaz is shown here during the recent launch of the new Ram 1500 pickup.

Chrysler is scrambling to fill a big hole left in its senior management ranks following the unexpected defection of Fred Diaz, who had been running its fast-growing Ram truck brand. A 24-year Chrysler veteran, Diaz now becomes the new head of sales and marketing for the Nissan Brand in the U.S.

Considered one of the most influential Hispanic business leaders in the U.S., Diaz was one of a small cadre of close confidantes to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and helped the Ram brand generate a steady stream of month-over-month sales gains that outpaced the overall U.S. automotive recovery.

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Nissan now hopes that magic can rub off as it sets its sights on achieving a record 10% share of the U.S. market. The Japanese maker also hopes Diaz can help it finally pick up some traction in the light truck market when it launches an all-new version of the Titan pickup a little more than a year from now.


As Truck Wars Heat Up Ram Ramps Up Production

Automaker’s Warren Truck plant expects to increase production by more than 70,000 vehicles in 2013.

by on Feb.13, 2013

With a reviving economy expected to increase demand for full-size pickups, Chrysler is sharply boosting production of its big Ram 1500.

Truck sales took a spectacular tumble when the economy crashed but with the housing market showing signs of revival pickups could be one of the year’s hot products — and Chrysler is ready to take advantage of the fact that it was recently named North American Truck of the Year.

The maker’s Ram brand will rapidly ramp up production of the Ram 1500 pickup truck at its Warren, Mich., from 227,000 in 2012 to more than 300,000 vehicles this year.

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After winning North American Truck of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show last month, Chrysler is hoping to make some inroads in a segment long-dominated by Ford’s F-150 and, to a lesser degree, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups.

(Ram 1500 wins coveted North American Truck of the Year accolade. Click Here for the story.)

But the Detroit automakers aren’t the only ones looking to regain ground in what is traditionally their most profitable segment. Toyota unveiled an updated version of its big Tundra at the Chicago Auto Show last week while Nissan dropped hints about its next-generation Titan.


Nissan Planning New Titan for Likely 2015 Debut

More body styles, powertrain options aimed to enhance appeal.

by on Feb.07, 2013

The current Nissan Titan is a marginal player in the big pickup market.

One thing the Japanese have demonstrated, over and over again, is that they live by the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” And nowhere is that more apparent than in the full-size truck market.

Despite repeated attempts, Nissan and Toyota have failed to dislodge Detroit’s firm grip on the huge and highly profitable segment. But even as the bigger of the two makers gets ready to reveal an all-new version of the Tundra pickup during the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan officials are confirming that they’re working up a replacement for their own full-size offering, the Titan.

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Japanese officials, hoping to grab a bit of Toyota’s spotlight, announced they are “prepared for (the) long haul” and are “moving fast” to launch an “all-new” version of Titan.  While they didn’t have much else to say about their plans, has learned some significant additional details from Nissan planners attending the Chicago Auto Show.


Truck Wars: Detroit Makers Battle Out in Industry’s Most Profitable Market Segment

Asians largely sitting on the sidelines.

by on Jan.22, 2013

Ford teases its next-generation F-Series pickup with the big Atlas Concept truck.

American motorists will have to wait a couple more years before they can get their hands on the next-generation Ford F-Series pickup.  But that didn’t matter much to Wall Street, investors driving up the maker’s stock following the unexpected unveiling of the maker’s Atlas Concept truck at the North American International Auto Show.

And for good reason.  The F-Series has dominated the huge pickup segment for 36 years running. But it’s got a tough fight ahead if Ford hopes to maintain that lead. General Motors used the Detroit Auto Show to reveal its next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. And during the show’s opening ceremonies, the new 2013 Ram 1500 was named North American Truck of the Year by a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists.

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Meanwhile, though they’ve repeatedly failed to crack the last key market segment dominated by Detroit, Japanese makers haven’t abandoned their own aspirations, Toyota and Nissan expected to make significant updates to their own trucks in the next few years.

“There is nothing more core to our business than trucks and we think we’re timing this very well,” Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North American operations, said during a media sneak peek at the Silverado and Sierra models last month.


Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500 Named North American Car, Truck of the Year

Detroit makers sweep 20th anniversary NACTOY awards.

by on Jan.14, 2013

General Manager Fred Diaz with the Ram 1500.

Detroit makers dominated as the 2013 Detroit Auto Show opened up with the annual North American International Car and Truck of the Year awards.

Cadillac claimed the coveted Car of the Year trophy with its new 2013 ATS compact luxury sedan, the new Ram 1500 pickup was honored in the truck/utility category.

“I need someone to come up here and pinch me to make sure that has really happened,” declared Fred Diaz, Ram’s general manager, as he climbed the stage to collect the trophy.  The award was all the sweeter, he proclaimed, considering that parent Chrysler was bankrupt and written off for dead, by many, just a few years ago.

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But the same could have been said for General Motors which, like Chrysler, emerged from Chapter 11 in mid-2009 only with the help of a federal bailout that continues to generate controversy.  That, GM officials, have said, is why it’s so important to get third-party endorsements for vehicles like the ATS.


GM Reveals New 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Pickups

New trucks aim to ride on U.S. economic recovery.

by on Dec.13, 2012

The completely redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado makes its pyrotechnic debut.

Timing is everything, goes the old adage, and General Motors is betting that proves true as it gives the world a first look at its new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups.

Time has been working against the industry giant in recent months, sales sliding precipitously for the outgoing models – the oldest of the domestic full-size trucks.  But with signs of an improving economy further buoyed by the latest housing data, GM officials are confident the new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra models will hit the street at a perfect time to ride that rebound.

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“There is nothing more core to our business than trucks,” noted Mark Reuss, president of GM’s U.S. operations, during a preview of the two trucks at a movie soundstage in the Detroit suburbs. “And we think we’re timing this very well.”