American pick-up truck company Ram is set to ramp up support of its 13 dealers in New Zealand with an extensive advertising and marketing campaign based around its two variants, the Ram 2500 and 3500.
David Smitherman, the chief executive of Ram importers Fiat Chrysler NZ (FCNZ), wants to highlight what he says are the “unique capabilities of the Ram range.” The standout feature of the big units is towing capacity – almost 7000kg for the Ram 2500 and just over 6000kg for the 3500.
Both models were previewed at Fieldays in June, at a “deliberate soft launch’, said Smitherman. “We started with the preview so that we could put everything in place to ensure that wherever a Ram roams in New Zealand it will have the full support it deserves,” he said.
“But even with the low-key arrival, we sold the first vehicle within minutes of the gates opening.” Since then, Smitherman said, there has been steady stream of enquires to dealers nationwide.
The Ram 2500 Laramie is priced from $163,000 and the 3500 Laramie from $169,500. The badge’s appeal is therefore limited on pricing alone in a ute market dominated by the likes of the smaller Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, chief among the many utilitarian offerings.
Both Ram trucks come from the Fiat Chrysler factory in Detroit in a deal with the Ateco Group, ex-pat NZ businessman Neville Crichton’s outfit. They are shipped to Australia and reworked by Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive to meet Australian (and NZ) compliance rules.
Standard equipment includes powered driver and passenger seats; 12-volt outlets; a 240-volt/100amp mains socket; power-adjustable pedals. Under the bonnet of both is a 6.7-litre V8 turbo-diesel V8, good for 267kW/1084Nm.
A six-speed automatic gearbox sends drive through a BorgWarner transfer case to either two or four wheels with the use electronic shift-on-the-fly. The 2500 has coil suspension front and rear; the 3500 coils up front and leaf springs at the rear. Payload is 913kg for the 2500 and 1713kg for the 3500.