Phil Floraday at Automobile Magazine has
gotten the inside track on Chrysler’s plans for its pickup trucks.
With year-over-year sales of the Dodge Dakota down 49 percent and Dodge
Ram sales off 48 percent, what Chrysler does next with its haulers
could make or break the company.
In the short-term,
engineers are working to add an optional built-in trailer brake controller
to the all-new light-duty 2009
Dodge Ram 1500 by next spring, which
will integrate the Ram’s ABS system with
the brake controller in trailers that have electric brakes. Ford and
General Motors have already announced the same feature for the 2009 Ford
F-150, 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and 2009 GMC Sierra half-ton pickups.
integrated trailer brake controller is already available in Ford and
GM’s heavy-duty pickups. The Ram’s trailer brake controller
will be mounted on the left side of the center stack, where an empty
cubby exists today, for easy and intuitive driver access. The integrated
trailer brake controller should also be available for the new 2010 Dodge
Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups when they’re launched in the
fall of 2009.
on the Dodge Ram 1500 two-mode hybrid and Cummins diesel model. The
Ram’s hybrid hardware was co-developed with GM, Daimler
and BMW, and it should return about the same improvement in fuel economy
announced for its half-ton
pickups: 40 percent in the city and 25 percent on the highway. The hybrid
Ram is set to arrive in 2010, as is the Cummins diesel version. Scott
Kunselman, Chrysler’s vice president of body-on-frame
product development, told Floraday he expects the Cummins will easily
exceed 22 mpg on the highway.
Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups are expected to debut in January at the
2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. They’ll
have tougher exteriors but will share identical interiors with the Ram
long-term, Chrysler is completely rethinking its small-truck
executive vice president of product development, Frank Klegon, previously
said the company was considering moving the mid-size Dodge Dakota from
conventional body-on-frame construction to a unibody
platform when the freshened
2008 Dakota debuted at the 2007 Chicago auto show. Now, Chrysler VP
of Jeep and truck design, Ralph Gilles, tells Floraday he’s been
assigned to work on a small unibody truck as a Dakota replacement, similar
to the 2007 Dodge
Rampage concept. Gilles was responsible for leading
the redesign of
the new Ram. Design work has become especially serious now that Honda’s
unibody Ridgeline has outsold the Dakota so far this year.
smaller unibody pickup, similar to the 2002 Dodge
M80 concept, is also
being studied. Styling would be car-like to differentiate its ultra
light-duty capabilities from the brawny Ram pickups.
body-on-frame truck buyers concerned about the potential loss of Dakota
may find solace in this news. Gilles is also said to be working hard
to possibly bring a version of the Jeep
J8 military pickup or 2005
concept to market. A Jeep pickup would meet both traditional
truck buyers’ needs for a rugged small truck while satisfying
long-time calls from off-road fans for a modern Jeep-badged rig.
That’s not all! Read on at Automobile for even more information
about Chrysler’s future truck plans.