Strategy to benefit fleet sales
Ram is expected to launch a redesigned 1500 pickup in early 2018. But oddly, it will continue building the old model along with the updated version all the way into 2019, according to a report from Automotive News.
The strategy is to bring the lower-cost pickups to fleet businesses, while offering the new model with updated features to retail customers. Unnamed sources told AN that the old model would continue its production run at the Warren Truck Assembly plant in Detroit and at the Saltillo plant in Mexico into 2019. In total, the two plants will build 200,000 copies of the old pickups in 2018, before scaling back to 65,000 units in 2019.
Still, Ram will focus more output on the newer model. Almost 325,000 units of the redesigned truck will be produced at the Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan in 2018, coinciding with FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s recent remarks that the retooled plant would accommodate about 330,000 units. In 2019, copies of the updated 1500 pickup should exceed 400,000.
FCA told Motor Trend it has no comment on the report. But the automaker’s recent remarks seem to hint at the two-pickup strategy.
“Going into 2018, having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers’ demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins,” CFO Richard Palmer said on a conference call with AN. “As we realign our capacity, we’re going to be able to continue to work on improving our fleet mix.”
The redesigned Ram 1500 is expected to receive an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with optional turbocharging. It will also likely adopt smaller headlights and taillights, and keep its steel body panels. Inside, a flatter center console should free up more space for storage. Earlier this year, we also heard Ram wants to add a new midsize pickup to its lineup.