August 15, 2012
CORRECTED -- Chrysler's Ram truck brand is doing very well, showing that splitting it off from Dodge about two years ago was a wise move, say company executives. And starting with 2013 models, Rams will gain official registration status at state motor vehicle departments.Ram needed to be spun off because Dodge had become too many things - sport coupes, sedans and SUVs, along with light- and medium-duty trucks, explains Fred Diaz, Ram's president and CEO. This was diluting the presence of trucks in general and commercial trucks in particular.As a stand-alone brand, Ram vehicles can get more focused attention from engineers, product planners, dealers and eventually customers, he says. Buoyed by a recovering if sluggish economy and a hot market for new motor vehicles, sales of Ram trucks, including pickups, chassis-cabs and a commercial-style minivan, have risen steadily for 23 consecutive months, Diaz said. Year-to-year, sales of those vehicles are up 23% over 2011, and the Ram 1500 light-duty pickup is up by 33%.Although Ram is the name of the trucks ballyhooed in TV commercials and print advertising, they still come up on titles as Dodges during registration at state and county offices. That will change with 2013 models, beginning with the CV minivan and extending to Ram pickups and cab-chassis models as they go into production this fall, said Dave Sowers, head of Ram Truck marketing.Vehicle Identification numbers will be coded to reflect the proper name, Sowers says."They stayed Dodges because until now, in the area of state motor vehicle authorities, wherever those decisions are made, because they want all badging on a vehicle to say the name, and not carry anything else," Sowers said. "On some of the Rams it still said 'Dodge' on the dashboard."Ram will be the only name seen on '13 models, he said. Ram 1500 pickups with advanced features go into production next month and should be at dealers in October.Updated 8/17/2012, 9:10 a.m. EDT, to correct the spelling and title of Mr. Sowers.