Exec Hopes Only Springs Consumers Will Experience In 2009 Ram Will
Be In Its Rear Suspension, Not Prices
Chrysler is hoping to hold or lower prices on 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups, versus comparable 2008 models, even though the auto maker will be selling an all-new version with a new multi-link coil spring rear suspension.
"We’re looking to make our position more competitive in the marketplace by not raising prices, or even reducing them," Mike Accavitti, Chrysler's director of Dodge brand and SRT marketing communications, told PickupTruck.com at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show.
The 2009 Dodge Ram was introduced last month at the North American International Auto Show.
The Ram's rear suspension makes it unique among full size trucks. The back running gear is expected to dramatically improve ride and handling comfort, compared to other full size pickups that use conventional leaf springs.
But from a build perspective, multi-link coil springs are more complex and costly than leaf springs. Chrysler also had to redesign the back half of the Ram's frame to support the different torsion and bending forces managed by the truck’s coil spring suspension.
"(When pricing) we look at the truck holistically. While one element might be more expensive than others, by using more efficient (production) methods and eliminating waste, one of the objectives of the (Ram) program was to drive overall costs down," explained Mr. Accavitti. "We want to deliver the consumer value. It’s part of the brand promise that we want to deliver with this new truck."
According to Mr. Accavitti, Chrysler is also planning to hold a series of consumer ride and drive events around the country, so potential 2009 Dodge Ram buyers can directly experience the new rear suspension's ride quality versus competitive trucks, back-to-back.
"We want consumers to experience it and tell us what they think, like the Pepsi taste challenge, because it's ride quality you need to experience." said Mr. Accavitti.