2018 Ram 1500


RAM Trucks Australia will bolster its freshly-launched 1500 light-duty truck line-up later this year with the addition of a new V6 diesel-powered Laramie variant.

Precise timing for the oil burner is unclear, but it will follow the Hemi V8 petrol-powered 1500 Laramie that arrives in July, the 1500 Express that hits showrooms in August and the 1500 Express Black Pack that lands later in the year.

The version that will be sold here will be part of a 2019 model-year update on the diesel variant that went on sale in the US in 2014.

In its current US-spec guise, it is powered by a VM Motori 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel pumping out 179kW at 3600rpm and 569Nm at 2000rpm and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Ram Trucks Australia general manager Alex Stewart told GoAuto that the coming diesel 1500 would likely get a slight power boost over the existing version.

“We haven’t got the (power and torque) numbers from the US yet,” he said at the 1500 media launch in Sydney this week. “I am expecting it will be slightly more than model-year 2018 and probably a little bit less than the Maserati Levante. It is basically the same engine.”

Under the bonnet of the Maserati Levante large SUV, the engine delivers 202kW at 4000rpm and 600Nm at 2000-2600rpm.

The diesel-powered 1500 Laramie could carry a premium over the petrol V8 version, but pricing and specification will be revealed closer to its launch.

The oiler is likely to compete against high-end diesel-powered mid-sizers, such as the Ford Ranger Wiltrak and Raptor, Holden’s Z71 Colorado, Toyota’s HiLux Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue trio, and the incoming Volkswagen Amarok TDI580 and Mercedes-Benz X350d.

Of the expected 2100 sales Ram Trucks Australia expects for the full 1500 range in its first full year on sale next year, Mr Stewart said the Express V8 – the most affordable variant – will grab the lion’s share of sales with about 1200-1300 units, while the Laramie V8 will nab about 600 and the diesel would make up a couple of hundred units.

Mr Stewart said the company was expecting some cannibalisation of the larger Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty models from the 1500.

“You have to accept that a lot of the people who buy the 2500 would step into one of these because they might not have that requirement for the big truck,” he said.

“There will be some people that will quite happily spend a hundred grand plus on-roads for one as opposed to 140 grand plus on-roads, because it does the job. The 1500 cabin is exactly the same size (as the 2500).”

After hitting 292 sales in its first full year of operation, 2016, Ram – which is imported and converted to right-hand drive in Melbourne by Ateco Group-owned American Special Vehicles – grew its sales by 40 per cent last year for its 2500 and 3500 models.

However, sales have slipped by 40.3 per cent to the end of May this year to 80 units, compared to the same period last year.

As reported, Ram Trucks Australia aims to increase annual sales of the 1500 to 4500 units from 2020.

Mr Stewart said there was some pent up demand for the 1500 across the brand’s dealer network.

“Our dealer network tells us that they have got people lined up waiting to see the vehicle. Would they have taken deposits? Well that’s up to them,” he said.

“We are under a lot of pressure from the network to get the product delivered to them in numbers. We have got dealers saying they have got 10, 15, 20 customers lined up to see the vehicle.”

Mr Stewart added that there was a desire in the market for a V8-powered pick-up following the demise of the Australian-built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes.

He also said that unlike the 2500 and 3500, which are more popular with regional customers, the bulk of 1500 sales would be to city dwellers.

“For the 1500, it’s predominantly aimed at metropolitan markets. Obviously the east coast is your biggest population base. So you’d expect the metro and regional type centres are the biggest market for it,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t sell in other regions, we definitely will. But from a vehicle utilisation point of view, metropolitan.”


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest