Look: 2009 Dodge Ram
Dodge Emphasizes Usability Over Capability
By: Mike Levine Posted:
01-12-08 00:35 ET
Photography: Chrysler LLC
© 2008 PickupTruck.com
A good friend
of mine says that good design isn’t about making something
that can handle extraordinary situations well. It’s about designing
something that makes day-to-day activities enjoyable.
design team subscribed to a similar philosophy creating the all new 2009
Dodge Ram, because while the rest of the half-ton truck makers seem engaged
in a zero sum game over who has the most towing capability, Dodge has focused
on improving usability for the majority of light duty trucking needs.
result: the new Dodge Ram is the most user-friendly half-ton pickup on
get to the technical details, it’s important to know
how Chrysler conducted its research redesigning the Ram.
functional group of engineers, marketers, and designers went into the
field to observe veteran and first time light duty truck buyers first-hand,
like pickup truck anthropologists. They psychographically studied these
and how they used their current vehicles, and then they sifted through
all the verbal and non-verbal clues to find out what they wanted in a
In one case,
Ram team members spent half a day riding as passengers with a Dodge
truck owner, who’d rigged a bike rack
to the back of his pickup. They watched as he performed an intricate
routine to get past the bike to gain access to the bed. What the owner
said (and thought) was easy was really an arduous process. How could
they make it better?
case, Chrysler funded a game night for ten non-traditional truck buyers.
They watched, listened, and recorded what the players said about pictures
of different vehicles. What were these buyers asking for through their
comments and opinions?
understanding the Ram team came away with was that many half-ton truck
owners, particularly first-time buyers, weren’t
using their trucks for their intended purpose. These owners weren’t
hauling gravel and rock or towing big trailers but they still liked the
utility of a big pickup and were solving usability issues in different
ways – like buying plastic storage containers to keep items dry
and in place in the bed.
lessons learned were distilled into the new truck.
Looks Like a Big Rig
accidentally let the cat out of the bag when a beauty shot of the Ram
was prematurely posted on a Mopar website in December. The styling
may no longer be revolutionary but it remains iconic. It’s
the most refined version to date of the Ram’s ‘big rig’ looks.
to Chrysler design chief Trevor Creed, two vehicles influenced the
exterior surfaces, the Dodge Charger sedan and Ford F-150.