Posts Tagged ‘Dodge Ram’

Feds Investigating Nissan Versas, Dodge Rams

More than 600,000 cars subject to latest NHTSA query.

by on Jun.30, 2014

NHTSA is investigating 360,000 Nissan Versas from 2012-2014 for unintended acceleration issues.

Federal safety regulators continue to pressure automakers as they announced two separate investigations involving more than 600,000 Nissan Versas and Dodge Rams.

In the case of the Versa, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reviewing complaints that an interior trim panel is causing unintended acceleration. The query impacts 360,000 Versa, Versa sedans and Versa Notes from 2012 to 2014.

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According to the four complaints, the trim piece catches the edge of a driver’s shoe, trapping the foot and interfering with the ability to use the brakes. Nissan officials said the maker will cooperate with the investigation. (more…)

Ram 1500 Lands Consumer Reports’ Top Rating

Endorsement could help counter Chrysler’s recall concerns.

by on Jul.16, 2013

The Ram 1500 wins a coveted endorsement, a "Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports.

After a series of recalls that have called into question Chrysler’s efforts to rebuild the company’s reputation for quality and reliability, the automaker has finally gotten a much-needed endorsement.

Following a month in which more than 2 million different Chrysler products were recalled, the maker’s new full-size truck, the Ram 1500, was named number-one in Consumer Reports magazine’s latest pickup round-up, and given a coveted “Recommended” rating.

“The Ram 1500 is surprisingly luxurious and refined—but still fully capable of doing hard work when needed,” said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice,” he said.

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The news couldn’t have come at a better time for Chrysler which last month reluctantly agreed to recall 1.2 million Jeeps that federal safety regulators alleged could catch fire in rear-end collisions.  That was followed by a collection of five additional recalls impacting about 840,000 sedans, coupes, crossovers, SUVs and minivans.


Chrysler Posts $166 Million Profit

Q1 results negatively impacted by product launches.

by on Apr.29, 2013

Chrysler Group's Q1 earnings dropped in part, to the launch of the new Dodge Ram.

A sharp downturn in the company’s production of new vehicles tied to new product launches undercut Chrysler Group’s cut Chrysler’s profits by two-thirds during the first quarter of 2013.

Chrysler Group reported Q1 net income net income dropped 65% to $166 million, compared with $473 million for the same quarter last year. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of positive net income.

The results, which were expected, were a result of lower vehicle shipments as well as industrial costs related to several key product launches, and lower vehicle shipments to Europe and Latin America, even as retail sales in North America remain strong, the company said.

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Nonetheless Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne insisted the company remains on a path to longer-term prosperity as it ramps up production of the new Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee as well as the Dodge Ram.


Toyota Rolls Out All-New Tundra

New truck takes aim at dominant domestics.

by on Feb.07, 2013

The 2014 Toyota Tundra makes its Windy City debut.

You don’t get to be number one by sitting on the sidelines. Yet, since rolling out the original T100 more than two decades ago, Toyota has largely been left on the bench in the U.S. full-size pickup market.  It remains the only major segment where the world’s largest automaker has repeatedly failed to become a significant, if not dominant player.

But Toyota is nothing if not patient.  It took a series of tries to get on the boards in the once-thriving minivan market. And the Japanese maker is betting that it will eventually come up with the right formula for a full-size truck.

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Like the one it is showing off in Chicago this week, an all-new version of the Toyota Tundra that has clearly been designed to correct past mistakes.  The third-generation Toyota truck features a bolder, more rugged design, a bigger and quieter cabin, and a number of what the maker claims to be truck segment firsts, including Blind Spot Monitoring and Cross-Traffic Alert.


Truck Wars: Detroit Makers Battle Out in Industry’s Most Profitable Market Segment

Asians largely sitting on the sidelines.

by on Jan.22, 2013

Ford teases its next-generation F-Series pickup with the big Atlas Concept truck.

American motorists will have to wait a couple more years before they can get their hands on the next-generation Ford F-Series pickup.  But that didn’t matter much to Wall Street, investors driving up the maker’s stock following the unexpected unveiling of the maker’s Atlas Concept truck at the North American International Auto Show.

And for good reason.  The F-Series has dominated the huge pickup segment for 36 years running. But it’s got a tough fight ahead if Ford hopes to maintain that lead. General Motors used the Detroit Auto Show to reveal its next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. And during the show’s opening ceremonies, the new 2013 Ram 1500 was named North American Truck of the Year by a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists.

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Meanwhile, though they’ve repeatedly failed to crack the last key market segment dominated by Detroit, Japanese makers haven’t abandoned their own aspirations, Toyota and Nissan expected to make significant updates to their own trucks in the next few years.

“There is nothing more core to our business than trucks and we think we’re timing this very well,” Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North American operations, said during a media sneak peek at the Silverado and Sierra models last month.


Detroit Auto Show: All You Need to Know

Press Preview ends today; show opens to public on Saturday.

by on Jan.14, 2013

The press previews are over but there’s still a lot more news to come from the 2013 North American International Auto Show and will continue bringing you the latest product news, concept close-ups and interviews with the industry newsmakers down at Cobo Hall.

Stay with for our latest updates:

Chrysler Promises 20% Better Fuel Economy with New Ram 1500

Mileage wars roil the big truck market.

by on Aug.24, 2012

The 2013 Ram 1500's new 3.6-liter V-6 is rated at 25 mpg highway.

Full-size truck buyers are a tough yet loyal lot.  They seldom switch brands but when they do it’s traditional because of factors like horsepower, payload or towing capacity.  But Chrysler’s Ram division is betting there’s another reason why some folks will be willing to make the move in the years ahead: fuel economy.

With prices again hovering at nearly $4 a gallon in much of the country, the Detroit maker’s timing probably couldn’t be better for rolling out the all-new 2013 Ram 1500 pickup, the truck delivering up to 20% better mileage than before thanks to a new V-6 engine option and other improvements.

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With fuel prices again on the rise, the timing couldn’t be better, according to Ram brand director Robert Hegbloom, who declared, “We are delivering what customers are looking for.”


Light Truck Sales on the Rise: Is Wall St out of Touch With Main St?

Lower fuel prices help, but increase also may signal optimism among the working class.

by on Oct.04, 2011

Will sales of full-size pickups help pull the overall economy along?

Does Main Street know something Wall Street doesn’t?  That’s a question observers are asking as they explore the minutiae of the September U.S. auto sales figures.  Overall sales posted a strong upturn – reaching their highest annualized rate since last April – buoyed in part by demand for pickups and other light trucks.

That jump clearly was linked to the sharp decline in fuel prices – buyers in some parts of the country now seeing pumps set below $3 a gallon – but it may also indicate a renewed optimism among America’s working class.  These days, the so-called personal use truck market has largely dried up, most pickup buyers actually using their vehicles for works.

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“It’s definitely a positive sign,” said David Sullivan, auto analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.  “I think the increase…says things may not be as bad as all the doom and gloom we’re hearing.”

During September, the annualized sales rate increased to 13 million, a surprising upturn considering the crash on Wall Street and steady news coverage of what could be the beginning of a double-dip recession.  While overall new vehicle sales rose 10%, the figures were even bigger in the various light truck segments, which together captured 54% of the market, the biggest percentage for all of 2011.


Nissan Moving Ahead With Full-Size Pickup Plans

May also combine small truck platforms.

by on Feb.02, 2011

Nissan will develop the Titan replacement in-house.

Key work remains to be completed on Nissan’s new full-size pickup truck, Larry Dominque, head of product planning for Nissan operations in the Americas, said this week, but it is a work in progress with a high priority at Nissan design center in San Diego.  While powertrain and other engineering issues have yet to be resolved, the interior and exterior design work is now locked into place.

The new model will replace the sluggish-selling Titan, which Dominque acknowledged has never quite lived up to Nissan’s expectations.  But it still fills an important role for the Japanese maker, which continues to position itself as a full-range vehicle provider.

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“Our dealers love the truck,” said Dominque, who also confirmed the next generation Titan will be a “body-on-frame” vehicle, even though some had speculated the maker would go to a crossover-style unibody design, similar to Honda’s approach with the smaller Ridgeline.

Much of the basic engineering for the truck will be handled at the Nissan Technical Center, outside Detroit, where the staff has extensive experience working on body-on-frame vehicles – including the NV commercial vehicle Nissan will launch this spring.


Hyundai Kills Plan for Dodge Ram-based pickup.

Korean maker instead to focus on commercial vehicles.

by on May.13, 2010

Hyundai has shelved plans to partner with Chrysler on a Korean-badged version of the Ram pickup, opting instead to focus on commercial trucks.

Hyundai has decided to cancel plans to bring a rebadged version of the Dodge Ram pickup to market and will instead focus on expanding its presence in the commercial vehicle market.

Looking to further expand its growing presence in the U.S. market, the Korean maker had been holding discussions with Chrysler about producing a Ram-based truck that would carry the Hyundai badge, but those plans were shelved recently after both parties couldn’t agree on production volumes that were being negotiated as part of a manufacturing contract between the two automakers, the source told us.

It was the second time in recent months that Chrysler had a potential partner pull out of plans to use the Dodge pickup.  Nissan has also shelved a project that would have replaced its slow-selling Titan with a Ram-based model.

Hyundai Motors Company subsidiary Hyundai Motor America provided the following statement about its rumored pickup truck development to (for which Mike Levine serves as editor):

“Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp. pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S.”

Sources say that Hyundai’s research into pickup trucks was motivated by a possible new strategic direction in North America. A pickup truck would be a bridge product between Hyundai’s consumer-focused car and crossover business and the company entering the commercial truck market in the U.S. later in the decade, which could broaden Hyundai’s product portfolio with passenger and light commercial work vans and other commercial truck platforms.

While Nissan appears to have abandoned any possible partnership with Chrysler, there could still be a deal between the U.S. maker and Hyundai in the works.

The Koreans could still partner with Chrysler in the future on other work vehicles besides pickups, as it does today supplying the Ram H-100 for Hyundai in the Mexican market.

(Mike Levine is editor of for more on this story.)

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