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For Ram, Tungsten is the New Gold (or Platinum, For That Matter)

Booming demand for high-line trucks buoys bottom line for Detroit automakers.

by on Jun.28, 2017

Fiat Chrysler is hunting affluent truck buyers with its new Ram Tungsten Limited Edition truck.

Consider it a bright idea: the folks at Ram hope to light up their sales numbers – and bottom line – by adding a new Tungsten Edition to their pickup truck line-up.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles truck brand is the latest to try to target extremely affluent motorists who keep demanding more and more upscale features on their SUVs and pickups. The new version of the Ram 1500 will start at $55,120.

2018 Product News!

It’s no surprise that Ram is offering what brand boss Mike Manley notes is “the highest trim level” the brand has ever offered. A quick check of the U.S. sales stats reveals that Detroit’s Big Three actually outsell more traditional brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus when pushing into luxury pricing territory. It just happens that most of those high-line domestic products are trucks. (more…)

Settle or Sue: U.S. Ready to Take on FCA Over Diesel Rigging Allegations

Automaker accused of using “defeat device” to meet emissions mandates.

by on May.18, 2017

The Ram 1500 turbodiesel has won a number of awards - but the EPA claims it was rigged to pass emissions tests.

The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly given Fiat Chrysler Automobiles an ultimatum: either settle allegations it rigged its diesel models to illegally pass U.S. emissions tests or be hit with a lawsuit.

With the Euro-American automaker so far fiercely challenging those claims by the government, a civil suit could be filed as early as this week, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

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Breaking News!

The automaker says it sees the threat of litigation as “counterproductive,” adding that it “will defend itself vigorously” in court, if necessary. But whether it will now back down is uncertain considering FCA management will need to weigh the potential damages – both in terms of legal costs and possible fines and penalties, as well as the hit to its image the automaker could face.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalling Over 1.25 Mil Ram Pickups

Software glitch could cause airbag, seatbelt failure in rollovers.

by on May.12, 2017

The Ram 1500 is one of three versions of the full-size truck covered by the recall.

More than 1.25 million Ram pickup trucks are being recalled worldwide due to a software glitch that can cause some of the vehicles’ airbags and seatbelts to fail during rollover crashes.

The problem has been linked to at least one death and two injuries, according to a statement by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The automaker also advised owners to watch for a warning light on the instrument panel for a possible failure.

Safety First!

The recall covers three different light and medium-duty versions of the full-size Ram pickup sold in North America, as well as other parts of the world between the 2013 through 2016 model-years, FCA said.

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Is FCA Ready to Sell Off Jeep and Ram?

Marchionne's casual comment raises questions about carmaker’s future.

by on Apr.27, 2017

The most powerful SUV on the market, the 707 hp Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

It was the sort of casual comment that many of those listening in on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earnings conference call just might have missed, but a single word from FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne could signal some massive changes to come.

For several years, the CEO has made no effort to hide his interest in finding a partner for the smallest of the Detroit-based automakers. During a call with analysts and reporters to discuss FCA’s strong first-quarter earnings Marchionne was asked if his strategy might even include the idea of selling off the company’s crown jewels, the Jeep and Ram brands.

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The Big Picture!

“Yes,” Marchionne said, before moving on to other topics. And, curiously, those on the call let the subject drop without a single follow-up query.

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Fiat Chrysler Latest to be Charged With Rigging Diesel Emissions

Automaker’s stock price tumbles in wake of EPA allegations.

by on Jan.12, 2017

The Ram 1500 turbodiesel has won a number of awards since its 2015 introduction.

Barely 24 hours after the U.S. Justice Department announced a $4.3 billion settlement with Volkswagen AG in connection with the German maker’s diesel emissions scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of rigging its own diesel engines to illegally pass emissions test.

The agency said the so-called defeat device technology “appeared to cause the vehicles to perform differently when being tested” than when in use in real-world conditions. That was the same thing the EPA, in September 2014, charged that Volkswagen had done. Since then, VW has paid out close to $25 billion in fines and penalties related to the scandal. And FCA stockholders, apparently fearing a similar financial hit, sent the maker’s stock tumbling in the wake of the latest revelation.

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Enviro News!

“This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides from the vehicles, threatening public health by polluting the air that we breathe.”

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First Drive: 2017 Ram Rebel

Ready for the road: off or on.

by on Dec.13, 2016

The Ram Rebel incorporates the best of off-road capability with on-road comfort and convenience.

From every perspective, the popularity of the good old pickup truck is larger than life as the vehicles from American brands like Chevrolet, Ford and Ram continue to fetch higher and higher prices.

But then there is plenty of evidence that the pickup truck of today is several evolutionary cycles removed from the old-fashioned work trucks that are an enduring part of the American landscape prior to the 1980s.

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A case in point is the Ram Rebel, a truck that incorporates most of the old fashioned pickup’s rugged practicality and marries it to luxury once found in expensive sedans and additional capabilities for anyone will to take a $57,125 “off road.” (more…)

Ram Bolstering Off-Road Reputation with New Truck

Brand catering to needs of non-tarmac users.

by on Feb.12, 2016

Ram debuted its 2017 2500 4x4 Off-road at the Chicago Auto Show. The brand is looking to make inroads with off-roaders.

With truck sales booming and competition intensifying, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking for a way to shore up its position with truck enthusiasts of all kinds who either enjoy or need to take their trucks off road.

“Truck customers require a wide range of off-road capability options and Ram trucks are designed and engineered for the full spectrum,” said Bob Hegbloom, head of the Ram Truck Brand. “We want to be the leader in off-road,” he added during a press conference during previews for the upcoming Chicago Auto Show.

Truck News!

“Anyone who spends most days on the outskirts of a job site or the weekend on the shore of a favorite fishing hole will benefit from the standard features on our new Ram 2500 4×4 Off-road Package,” he said. (more…)

Ram Powers Up with Chicago Debut of 2017 Power Wagon

A pickup for serious off-roaders.

by on Feb.11, 2016

The 2017 Ram Power Wagon harkens back to the automaker's past off-road brutes.

Ram is rolling its new Power Wagon onto the stage at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, but buyers are more likely to head for the hills and dales, and just about anywhere else they can check out the capabilities of the brand’s most serious off-road pickup.

Based on the Ram 2500 4×4 HD Crew Cab, the 2017 Ram Power Wagon aims to deliver the best of both worlds. It’s designed to slog through mud and crawl over rocks, but its also got plenty of creature comforts you wouldn’t traditionally find in a serious off-roader.

Muscle Up!

“The Ram Power Wagon is an off-road, all-access pass, removing the limitations, instilling confidence and allowing owners to reach areas of recreation and lifestyle not attainable with any other pickup,” said Ram boss Mike Manley. (more…)

Ford F-150 Named Green Truck of the Year

Ram ProMaster City named Commercial Green Car.

by on Nov.23, 2015

Ford scored by adding a CNG and propane option for the 2016 version of the F-150.

The Ford F-150 pickup has been named the Green Truck of the Year, while the Ram ProMaster City has been declared the Commercial Green Car of the Year.

You might find it difficult to use the words, “green,” and “pickup truck” in the same sentence, but manufacturers have been striving to make even the biggest vehicles on the road more environmentally friendly, as reflected in a pair of new awards.

Green News!

“Over the past few decades, new car models have benefitted from design and technology improvements that have brought higher fuel efficiency and greater levels of environmental compatibility,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal, which hands out the annual awards. “We’re witnessing the pickup and light commercial vehicle field enjoying the same attention.”

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VW Scandal a “Black Eye” for US Diesel Market

Sales likely to collapse; long-term revival uncertain.

by on Sep.24, 2015

The 2015 Golf TDI is one of the diesels VW has temporarily stopped selling in the US.

For motorists looking for sporty but environmentally friendly alternatives to sluggish hybrids, diesels like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI has been a welcome addition to the U.S. market. The ability to deliver real performance along with high mileage is one reason why diesel sales have continued to grow even as demand for gas-electric models has plunged in the face of cheap gas.

But that growth spurt is likely to sputter out, industry insiders warn, in the wake of the Volkswagen cheating scandal. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of 482,000 VW diesel models, revealing that the maker had used software to scam the government’s emissions tests.

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In real world situations, vehicles like the Jetta TDI actually produce up to 40 times the permissible level of noxious emissions.

“This is another black eye for diesels,” said Mike Jackson, CEO of Florida-based AutoNation, the country’s largest automotive retailer. “You now have a passionate constituency that feels betrayed.”

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