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Looking at the fullsize pickup landscape, automakers are bringing more and more luxury to the mix. Ford has its King Ranch, GMC has the Denali and now Chevrolet is adding a High Country model, but it sounds like Ram might be looking to make a step up from its already posh Laramie Longhorn trim (shown above). Speaking with new Ram boss Reid Bigland, Automobile is reporting that Chrysler could be looking to reach even higher to add even more premium accoutrements to its truck line.
It's hard to imagine how much higher Ram could get with its luxury especially considering the 2013 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Longhorn used for our recent First Drive carried an as-tested price of $70,285 - even lighter-duty 1500 models start at $45k in LL trim. We wonder if this means we might finally get to see a production version of the Ram Long Hauler that we saw testing earlier in the year. Either way, high-dollar pickups add up to massive profit margins for automakers, so as long as there are customers willing to pay the price, we'll doubtlessly continue to see more premium features inside future trucks.
The heavy-duty truck segment boasts some of the tightest competition of any automotive niche in the US. Being able to tout just one best-in-class figure can be a marketing advantage over competitors, and Ram Trucks is adding one more accolade to its tally with a powertrain update for the 2015 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups. Ram now claims best-in-class ratings for torque, towing and payload, depending on configuration.
The major change comes for the 3500 HD with a boost in torque for its Cummins 6.7-liter, inline-six diesel engine. It now produces a meaty 865 pound-feet of twist, a boost of 15 lb-ft, which is the best figure in its segment, according to the company. To eek out the extra power, the mill has more aggressive fuel delivery, and the turbo has been recalibrated. Of course, more grunt would be meaningless if drivers couldn't do anything with it, and the tweaks help allow payload to grow to 7,390 pounds, up from a rating of 7,320 pounds last year. The max towing rating remains unchanged at 30,000 pounds, though.
The rest of the powertrain lineup carries over from last year. The base HD mill is the gasoline-fed 5.7-liter V8 with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft and a six-speed automatic. The next step up is a 6.4-liter V8 with 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. There are also three trims of the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel starting with 350 hp and 660 lb-ft with a six-speed manual gearbox. If buyers opt for a the 68RFE six-speed auto, they get 370 hp and 800 lb-ft. Finally, there's the updated, top-rung version with 385 hp and 865 lb-ft with an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.
During the Fiat-Chrysler briefings on Tuesday, Reid Bigland, head of Ram Trucks, outlined the new product plans for his brand, including confirmation that an all-new light-duty Ram 1500 will launch in 2017. From there, discussions spun off in two directions, with the main questions being: will Ram build a midsize pickup? And, following Ford's move to extensively use aluminum in its new 2015 F-150, will Chrysler be using this weight-saving material for the next round of its fullsize truck, as well?
"I think there is room for a Ram 1000," Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured above) told members of the media, saying this is a conversation the automaker has been having internally for several years now. "We've tried this ... we've actually taken it to clinics," Marchionne stated, adding that the "response has been lukewarm."
"I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck." - Sergio Marchionne