Ram Truck celebrates its 10th anniversary as a standalone brand
A lot has happened in the decade since Dodge quit the truck game.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Think back to the halcyon days of 2009. Barack Obama became a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the term anti-vaxxer entered the popular vernacular and
Yes, you read that last point correctly. In October 2009,
Automobiles took the
lineup away from Dodge, creating a new, standalone division in the process. From that point forward, FCA's well-recognized range of pickups was managed and sold under a new corporate brand. Ram Truck as an independent entity was born one decade ago today. But even 10 years on, people still refer to these rigs as "Dodge Rams." Indeed, old habits die hard, but hey, John and Horace's namesake brand had been making trucks for nine decades up to that point, so, can you really blame folks for perpetuating their legacy?
Whatever name you choose to call these rugged vehicles, Ram has brought, well, truckloads of innovation to the table during the last decade. Capitalizing on this important milestone in its history, FCA is launching a new multimedia marketing campaign that includes, among other things, three new broadcast videos as well as fresh digital content for sharing on major social-media platforms. This effort kicks off with a special one-minute-long commercial titled The Power of Innovation.
On the subject of newfangled creations, Ram has had more than its share of firsts over the last 10 years, from air suspension and mild-hybrid systems, to class-leading interiors and eight-speed transmissions. Here's a little retrospective of what this brand has delivered over the last decade:
Right out of the gate, this division pushed innovation. One of its first outstanding developments was the RamBox cargo management system. Taking advantage of the normally wasted space inside a pickup's rear fenders, Ram product-development folks integrated lockable, weatherproof storage bins into this area. Yes, these containers did detract slightly from overall bed volume, but unless you were hauling mulch or gravel everyday the trade-off was probably well worth it.
In 2010, Ram's heavy-duty models were, for the first time, offered with a more-spacious crew-cab body. This dramatically increased their hauling abilities ... people-hauling, that is. On the light-duty front, an Outdoorsman trim joined the half-ton family, offering numerous features of value to hunters, anglers and other nature enthusiasts.
For its third year on the market, Ram started focusing on offering more upscale pickup trucks, "cowboy Cadillacs" if you will. Its Laramie Longhorn trim was revealed at the State Fair of Texas in 2011. Customers were treated to sumptuous leather, careful interior detailing and a commensurate price tag. A chassis-cab variant joined the range this year, too, offering up-fitters an alternative to rival pickups. These models boasted of segment-leading horsepower, torque, brake life and more.
Appealing to value-conscious shoppers and fleet customers alike, Ram Truck introduced a Tradesman heavy-duty model in 2012. An all-new six-speed automatic transmission was offered with 4.7- and 5.7-liter V8 engines, among many other tweaks.
2013 was a significant point in Ram Truck's history as it continued to refine its products. One of the first things drivers were sure to notice this year was enhanced exterior styling, which included an updated grille and front fascia, redesigned headlights and the addition of LED turn signals and taillamps.
Rain-sensing windshield wipers, electrically folding side-view mirrors and a power-sliding rear window were all optional in 2013 as well. Available keyless entry, wood trim, enhanced door panels and upgraded interior materials made these trucks even more appealing. But perhaps more important than all that stuff, a 3.6-liter V6 engine joined the lineup, matched to an efficient and responsive eight-ratio automatic gearbox. FCA's vaunted 5.7-liter Hemi V8 could also be paired with that transmission.
Continuing to press its powertrain advantage, Ram introduced a light-duty compression-ignition engine the next year. Its EcoDiesel V6 displaced 3.0-liters and cranked out around 420 pound-feet of torque. In its most-efficient form, this oil-burner helped the
pickup return an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon on the highway. In 2014, the Ram Commercial division was also formed, targeting business customers in countless industries. Its introduction was spearheaded by the
family of cargo
Appealing to off-road enthusiasts, the Ram 1500 Rebel launched in 2015. Helping it tackle the roughest of terrain, these trucks were fitted with Bilstein shocks, recalibrated steering and an increased ride height, among numerous other changes.
Not much of note happened in 2016 for Ram. It did introduce the Rebel TRX concept at the State Fair of Texas. It featured copious upgrades designed to improve its off-road capability, plus a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 churning out 575 horsepower.
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2017 was another quiet year. The Ram 1500 gained incremental upgrades like standard (depending on model) remote start, a Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system, automatic dual-zone climate control and more. A handful of special-edition trims were also introduced, including the Ram 1500 Night Edition and Hydro Blue Sport.
For the following year, Ram also focused on special-edition models, bringing to market trims like the Harvest Edition, which could be had in two tractor colors: Case IH Red and new Holland Blue. The Limited Tungsten Edition became available on 1500 and 2500 models as well, and customers could even choose from a Laramie Longhorn South Fork Edition and a Heavy Duty Lone Star Edition.
Everything changed in 2019. Ram introduced totally redesigned half-ton and heavy-duty trucks. The range benefited from sleek new styling, best-in-class interiors and loads of innovative features. On the Ram 1500, an eTorque mild-hybrid system became available, offered on both V6 and V8 engines, a gargantuan 12-inch portrait display for the infotainment system was on the options menu, a groundbreaking swinging and folding Multifunction Tailgate was introduced and much more.
2020 and beyond
All that brings us to today. For the latest model year, Ram reintroduced its EcoDiesel V6 engine, now with a best-in-class 480 pound-feet of torque. Light-duty pickups have also earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.