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Driven: Ram chases volume sales with 1500

Greater breadth of buyer demographic to be attracted to new Ram 1500 pick-up

Ram logo31 Aug 2018

RAM Trucks Australia is hoping to gain more metropolitan buyers with the release of its 1500 light-duty pick-up, to counterbalance the skew towards rural buyers for its larger heavy-duty 2500 and 3500.
 
The company is pitching the 1500 at buyers in the market for a dual-purpose work/play premium pick-up, as well as poaching buyers otherwise looking at off-road capable SUVs such as a Toyota LandCruiser or Nissan Patrol.
 
Speaking to GoAuto at the first local drive of the 1500, Ram Trucks Australia general manager Alex Stewart said the 1500 would help give the brand increase its sales in urban areas.
 
“I think the opportunity the 1500 gives is it just opens it up to virtually anybody in the market who is either currently or thinking of buying a dual-cab 4x4 work/recreational vehicle or family vehicle, or even the larger SUV (such as) the LandCruiser 200 or those sort of vehicles,” he said.
 
He said he expected the lower-grade Express to appeal to tradespeople, while the more luxurious Laramie trim will find more homes as a family car, giving the 1500 broader appeal than the 2500.
 
“The range that the 1500 offers with the entry-level Express through to the Laramie really covers the whole spectrum from the tradie guy through to the older generation of grey nomad retiree, or even the small business owner who is looking for a dual-purpose recreational work vehicle that can still take the family to school in the morning, and the Laramie fits well into that.”
 
Mr Stewart said that once the range is broadened with the addition of a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 version – due to arrive in Australia late in the year or early 2019 – the 1500 will make up 85 per cent of the brand’s overall volume, with an aim to sell 2100 vehicles next year, up to 4500 in 2020. 
 
Two variants of the 1500 – Express Quad Cab and Laramie – will be offered, starting with the base-level Express Quad Cab 4x4 from $79,950 driveaway. 
 
Four Express variants will be sold, topping out at $93,950 plus on-road costs for the Black Pack with RamBoxes version, which adds two 240-litre lockable storage compartments on the outer sides of the tub.
 
Only two grades of the more expensive Laramie will be sold, priced at $99,950 or $104,450 with the addition of RamBoxes. All variants come with four doors, a tub rear-end and a 4x4 driveline.
 
While both variants have four-door body styles, the more luxurious Laramie comes with 3.5 cubic metres of interior space, while the Express Crew Cab is down slightly with 3.3 litres.
 
As such, the Express has a 1.93-metre-long tub, while the Laramie makes do with a 1.7-metre area.
 
For the time being, a single engine will be offered across the 1500 range, namely a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated petrol Hemi V8, outputting 291kW at 5600rpm and 556Nm at 3950rpm, teamed to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
 
A 3.0-litre VM Motori turbo-diesel V6 will join the range and is likely to land at the start of 2019, with specific outputs yet to be confirmed. The diesel is expected to be more expensive than the petrol V8.
 
The reason the diesel was not offered at launch is an updated version of the engine is about to come to market with improved power and torque figures, so Ram decided to wait until the new version arrived.
 
It is the same engine in the Maserati Levante diesel, and output in the 1500 is expected to be slightly less than the Maserati’s 202kW/600Nm.
 
Maximum braked towing capacity is rated at 4500kg for the 1500 Express Quad Cab and Laramie Crew Cab with the larger 3.92 axle ratio, while the Laramie can be optioned with a smaller 3.21 ratio that drops towing capacity to 3500kg.
 
The smaller-ratio Laramie sips 9.9 litres of fuel per 100km, while other variants are thirstier at 12.2L/100km.
 
Payload is rated at 885kg for the Laramie, while the Express can handle 912kg.
 
For reference, the 1500 is 213mm shorter, 49mm lower and a considerable 1157kg lighter than the 2500.
 
Express variants can be identified from the outside by its colour-matched grille, bumpers and trim, and can be optioned with the $9500 Black Pack which darkens various exterior trim elements. Meanwhile, the Laramie comes with the more traditional chrome grille and trim.
 
Standard kit on the 1500 Express includes a 5.0-inch UConnect 3 touchscreen system, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio, 12V outlets, manual air-conditioning, steering wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, cloth trim, rear parking sensors, side steps and 20-inch alloys with a full-size spare tyre.
 
The Laramie adds an 8.4-inch UConnect 4 unit with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, sat-nav, 10-speaker sound system,  front parking sensors, auto-dimming rear mirror, rain-sensing wipers, leather trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, rear-seat auxiliary outlets, remote keyless entry and start, and climate control air-conditioning with rear vents.
 
Standard safety features include trailer sway control, hill-start assist, child seat attachments, cruise control, front foglights, tyre pressure monitor and a full suite of airbags. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is not included.
 
Available options include a tri-fold tonneau cover for versions not equipped with RamBoxes ($1795), and metallic and pearl paint ($850). Other options can be sourced from the extensive range provided by Mopar.
 
Ram Trucks Australia imports left-hand-drive Rams from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in North America and converts then to right-hand drive at a production facility in Clayton South, in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
 
The company – American Special Vehicles – is owned by Ateco Automotive.



2018 Ram 1500 pricing*

 
1500 Express  
Quad Cab 6’4” tub (a) $79,950 D/A
Quad Cab 6’4” tub with RamBoxes (a) $84,450
Quad Cab 6’4” tub Black Pack (a) $89,450
Quad Cab 6’4” tub Black Pack with RamBoxes (a) $93,950
1500 Laramie  
Crew Cab 5’7” tub (a) $99,950
Crew Cab 5’7” tub with RamBoxes (a) $104,450
*Excludes on-road costs unless otherwise stated

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