Trucks

2018 Ram 1500 will live on as 2019 Classic to bolster sales

With the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 in its own "production hell," Fiat-Chrysler will continue to build the old one to satisfy customer demand.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Classic will target entry-level and commercial pickup truck buyers.

Ram

What's old is new again. The current-generation Ram 1500 will live on for at least a few more months, repackaged as a new "Classic" model to be sold alongside the brand-new 2019 truck. But unlike other "classic" carryover models like the Nissan Rogue Select or Volkswagen Tiguan Limited, this one wasn't exactly planned.

See, the 2019 Ram 1500 currently finds itself in a sort of "production hell," according to Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. As we previously reported, the new truck's Sterling Heights Assembly plant outside Detroit is "probably running today at 60 percent of cycle." This facility is said to be running seven days a week with two 10-hour shifts each day, and is expected to be churning out trucks at full tilt for the next several months in order to meet customer demand.

A number of factors, including supplier difficulties, have led to the slow ramp-up of 2019 Ram 1500 production. As of now, new model deliveries have largely been limited to trucks equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Ram's new E-Torque mild-hybrid system -- standard on V6 models and optional with the V8 -- does not yet seem to be in production.

Thus, enter the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, a carryover version of the 2018 model that will continue to be produced at both the automaker's Warren, Michigan and Saltillo, Mexico plants.

"As we launch the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, we didn't want to walk away from a key part of the light-duty truck market. Ram will continue to produce the 1500 Classic targeted at entry and commercial buyers," brand head Mike Manley said in an official statement.

Ram will offer the 1500 Classic in value-focused Tradesman, Express, Big Horn, Lone Star and SSV (Special Services Vehicle) trims, with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. These trucks can be ordered in Regular, Quad and Crew Cab configurations, with three different bed lengths. Powertrain options include FCA's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and even a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, which will come online again at a later date.

While Fiat-Chrysler hasn't yet stopped production on 2018 model year Ram 1500 trucks, the new 2019 Classic model won't officially go on sale until the fourth quarter of 2018. As of now, Ram expects to produce the 1500 Classic through the end of the 2018 calendar year.