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24 dealers sign up for Ram so far

On a roll: American Special Vehicles joint chief operating officer Peter McGeown says a growing dealership network will help the company get close to its 2016 sales target of 500 RHD Ram pick-ups this year.

Growing national retail network drives Ram pick-up sales to record levels in June

7 Jul 2016

AMERICAN Special Vehicles (ASV) sold a record 44 Ram pick-ups in Australia last month as its dealer network reached out to all states and territories except the Australian Capital Territory.

In business for just seven months, ASV so far has signed up 24 dealers across Australia and four in New Zealand to handle its big Ram 2500/3500 pick-ups that it imports and converts to right-hand drive at its Melbourne factory.

A Darwin dealership is about to be added, along with two or three more in other centres, according to ASV joint chief operating officer Peter McGeown.

“The sales have pretty much grown commensurate with the network,” he said. “We launched with around 14-15 dealers, and now have 24 in Australia and the volume has grown.

“In June, we did 44 retails which is our best month so far, eclipsing the previous record of 33 units.

“We have 148 units on the board for the year. We had a stake in the ground at launch to do 500 for the calendar year this year, so with148 to the end of June we are obviously a little bit behind on the running rate, but as I say that we have 24 dealers now and we are pretty confident we will get somewhere pretty close to that.”

New South Wales has the most dealerships – eight – covering most of the state.

Victoria has three, Queensland seven, Western Australia two and Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory one each.

Mr McGoewn said 10 of the dealers also handled Jeep and Chrysler products directly from FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), but others had a variety of other brands, including Toyota.

He said ASV expected to appoint just two or three more dealerships to fill some open points, with the intention of keeping throughput at each dealership high.

Mr McGeown said the RHD Ram range had been launched in New Zealand last month with three dealerships on the North Island and one in the South Island, at Christchurch.

ASV used the popular annual field days in New Zealand to kick off the Ram brand, while in Australia, displays at boat and caravan shows have taken the big pick-ups to Ram heartland – the towing brigade.

“So pretty much everything is going well,” he said. “The dealer morale is good, confidence in the brand is good, they are very happy with the support they are getting.

“The support we are getting from the factory is sensational. They bend over backwards to help us.”

Mr McGeown said FCA in the United States had set up a new Ram international sales division to grow the brand in export markets, including Australia, with the goal of selling a million Ram vehicles a year globally.

Last month, Ram Truck sales in the United States were up 14 per cent to 38,332 units – the best June in a decade.

ASV hopes to be part of the global growth, re-exporting RHD Rams to markets such as South Africa and Asia-Pacific.

In Australia, the Ram RHD conversion factory – next door to Walkinshaw’s Holden Special Vehicles – is capable of doubling production volume to 1000 units should the demand be there.

The plant also has room to go beyond that with an extension of the production line that currently turns out three RHD Rams a day.

Unlike most after-market pick-up importers, ASV imports vehicles in relatively large batches of up to 40 from the Ram factory in Saltillo, Mexico, and thus can offer off-the-shelf stock from the factory and dealerships for immediate delivery.

The vehicles are also engineered and tested for full-volume Australian Design Rule compliance, and built to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) standards overseen by engineers from Walkinshaw Automotive.

The dual-cab, six-seat Ram 2500 and 3500 are both powered by Cummins 6.7-litre V8 diesel with 276kW of power and 1084Nm of torque for massive towing capacity that, depending on towing hook, can be up to almost seven tonnes.

A single specification is available – the high-end Laramie – with prices starting at $139,500 plus on-road costs for the 2500 and $146,500 for the 3500.

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