5 Reasons Why It’s Wrong To Divorce Ram From Dodge

5 Reasons Why It’s Wrong To Divorce Ram From Dodge

It’s the toughest recession in decades. Many companies find themselves consolidating or shrinking to save money, but Chrysler is trying to grow by splitting Dodge cars from trucks to create the new Ram brand just for pickups and commercial vans. Here are five reasons why it’s wrong to divorce Ram trucks from the Dodge brand:

1.) Dodge Ram pickup truck owners say they drive a “Dodge Ram.”

Most of the owners we talk to automatically say they drive a Dodge Ram when we ask them what they drive. Isn’t the customer always right? How long is it going to take Dodge Ram owners to drop the Dodge from their vocabulary, especially if they’ve owned two or more Dodge Ram pickups? And what about the Dodge Dakota? It’s scheduled to end production by 2011. Will it be called the Ram Dakota for the rest of its short life? Ten years from now, will Ram trucks be able to connect with new customers by recalling their historic Dodge ancestors from the 20th century? Dropping the Dodge name leaves a huge void in front of Ram trucks.

2.) A high-mileage, unibody Dakota replacement could weaken the new Ram brand

Fred Diaz, the new Ram brand president and CEO, says that Chrysler is exploring building a unibody pickup, possibly based on a Fiat platform. If the Ram brand is going to emphasize tough trucks for tough truckers, how will a unibody pickup that’s focused on high MPG instead of hauling high lbs. fit within the Ram brand’s hard-working image? The Honda Ridgeline has already proven – painfully -- that traditional truck buyers are highly unlikely to purchase a less-capable pickup. The “image” small-pickup buyers from the 1990s and early 2000s seem to be gone for good.

3.) Ram pickups are the best-selling Chrysler vehicle

Ram pickups are the best-selling vehicles in Chrysler’s portfolio and pickup trucks and commercial vans make up just under 40 percent of 2009 year-to-date Dodge car and truck sales. Why force the best-performing vehicle to undergo such a dramatic change to its identity? Diaz says it’s to get the cars out from underneath the Dodge Ram’s shadow, so they can start to grow. Wouldn’t it be smarter to do this the other way around?

4.) Dodge cars and Ram trucks will still be sold under one roof

After all of the effort to create a distinct new identity for Ram trucks, you’ll still need to go to a consolidated Dodge-Ram-Jeep-Chrysler dealer to buy a Ram truck. If you’re going to the same place to buy, then don’t change the name. Good luck to those Ram dealers who are going to have to start marketing 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups. Boy, those names stir the soul, don’t they?

5.) Dodge truck owners are more passionate than Dodge car owners

Dodge Ram truck owners are passionate about their pickups. They’ll defend their pickup to other truck owners. Aside from the few Challenger and Viper owners, would a Caravan or Caliber owner do the same? It’s unlikely. If Ram owners are passionate sales people for the truck, why let the less loyal Dodge owners drive away with the brand?

Bottom line: We like the new Ram trucks -- particularly the 2010 Heavy Duty pickups -- and having just heard Chrysler’s 2010-14 business plan presentation, we know Chrysler’s executives still love these hard working rigs too. But divorcing Ram from Dodge could end up angering many of Chrysler’s most loyal customers. What’s the benefit in that?

Comments

Well said. Given what they want to do with Dodge cars, they'd have been better off resurrecting the Plymouth or even the Eagle nameplate, and letting Dodge just be trucks.

1. I still think of the tag line "Built Ram tough." Ram Dakota would be odd, but Ram Rampage wouldn't be so awful, would?

2. The still think that a properly executed unibody pickup could be the next killer app. The Ridgeline has performed poorly for a multitude of reasons: It looks ugly, high sticker, etc. The Dakota was an innovative concept when it first arrived and there is no reason it shouldn't innovate again. Provided the Dakota replacement looks like it should it will not weaken the brand and could potentially be a big hit. Ford and Chevy have backed away from a unibody truck, this is a fantastic opportunity for Chrysler to grab the horns!

3. I agree that you shouldn't go about messing with grandma's famous cookie recipe and you shouldn't go messing with successful car lines, but this minor brand distinction probably won't cause "New Coke" uproar.

4. All the more to the argument that in the eyes of the customer, little will change. This really is moving deck chairs on the Queen Mary.

5. There will still be plenty to be passionate about, simply de-emphasizing Dodge name won't cause a mass defection.

Having said all that, it will take considerable effort to refashion Dodge into something else. However, at this point I feel that changes are in order if Chrysler is to be saved, so why the heck not?

I'm rootin' for you Chrysler!

Michael Sheena
SF Autos Examiner
All Cars, All the Time

What's wrong with saying you drive a Fiat Ram?
:)

I think Walter Chrysler is spinning in his grave. To me, it makes more sense to have anything Dodge be under trucks, and commercial vehicles. Let Chrysler's name carry all the cars and more upscale products. Jeep will have all the SUV's and Wrangler vehicles. Keep it simple... why dissolve brands like Plymouth, only to create new brands down the road such as Ram? Makes no sense. I think Fiat is trying to take over Chrysler's whole lineup...and that's just wrong. Not that I care TOO much, I'm always and forever a loyal Ford man.

another reason not to buy a Chrysler product! What a mess! Don't they understand that Americans will largely see this as a gimmick? They should try to improve their brand's reliability before making new lines....gosh, so stupid!

Did anyone stop to consider that maybe Obama ordered it be done? It's his company, you know.

;)

I agree with Dave, Let chrysler brand sell the cars, let Dodge sell the trucks and CVs, and let Jeep sell the GC and Wrangler. But where do the cross-over vehicles fit? Are all four name plates going to continue selling the same vehicle with different badges? Won't that weaken the Ram and Jeep name?

Okay, at this point it seems Chrysler and its new so-called partner (with all the drastic product changing coming in the next few years, Fiat is more of a corporate takeover than a partner) were dead set on separating the trucks from the cars. So, in light of this, I (as a worried onlooker) have only two requests for Chrysler management.

(1) Please do not leave 1500, 2500 or 3500 as the model names for the fullsize pickups.
If RAM must be the brand name, at least give it a real model name, for example: RAM Bighorn 1500, Bighorn 2500, etc. I’m no expert on picking names, but whatever you choose, it would be better than a purely numeric model name.

(2) Do not let Fiat taint or weaken the pickup truck line. Its bad enough that some of the trucks are assembled in mexico, but don’t unAmericanize the line any further. Pickup trucks are apart of the American lifestyle. It’s a shame that "Made In The USA" doesn’t mean much to Americans anymore.

If they MUST create the Ram brand, they should call the full-size truck the Ram Power Wagon - not only the Off-Road "2500" model, but all former Dodge Rams. That's my opinion. Otherwise I'd rather drive a DODGE Ram.

The RAM brand could take in Class 8 Trucks, further complicating all the changes that have already occurred. FIAT wants its IVECO division to start a Heavy Truck line in the US.

Sounds like Fiat bought Chrysler in order to gain access to the commercial truck market. This Diaz guy is a total idiot, and Marchionne is in the same basket with him. This bold, stupid move will in no way, improve Chrysler. It's only going to help Fiat and hurt Dodge. Congratulations dips***s, you just lost a customer.

Failure In Automotive Technology

dodge sucks another one, there name plate is embarrassing, there trannys slipped outta reverse to many times.

There's only one simple but significant reason: no one want it, nobody need it! What's next - MoPar Alfa Romeo?
Fiat sucks!

Unibody pickups DO NOT SELL !!! Remember - Dodge tried this already with the Rampage in the early 1980s. That vehicle lasted 2 model years. Same with the VW rabbit pickup in the same time period. The Honda Ridgeline is collecting dust on dealer's lots.

I believe it is a good idea to simplify things. There shouldn't be a Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, and a Chrysler 300. Leave the Chrysler 300 and drop the others. Redo the Sebring and Caliber and change them to Chrysler. Jeep can have the SUV'S and crossovers. And definetely drop the Patriot and Compass. Leave Dodge for the trucks and commercials.

I drive a Dodge Ram and as the article states, I and many others are very passionate about our trucks. Leave the name alone!!

They must think we, the people, are stupid! You wait and see, FIAT is behind this stupid decision and Chrysler is just as stupid for letting them do it.

FIAT is supposed to help Chrysler with small fuel efficient cars, not trucks. Which brings the question: "Why the hell are they messing with the pickup trucks line, where they have no business sticking their nose ?" Because FIAT wants to sell there IVECO brand trucks here in the U.S.

At, the same time, FIAT is likely going to ruin the regular pickups like the Dakota and eventually the Ram (or 1500, whatever its model name is now) We could very well see the pickups go away, leaving us with FIAT’s IVECO commercial trucks. Either way, RAM is screwed.

Mike Levine you are spot on !!!!

I own classic Mopar's and 2 Dodge trucks a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT and a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport, I guess these will be my last !!!

I was a loyal Dodge owner ,I will buy a Chevrolet truck next,was going to buy a 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport but no Dodge so I will go to Chevy !! They really pissed me off dropping the Dodge name.Ram as a brand name is dead in the water..RIP Chrysler...

Will everyone stop crying about the name I am a dodge truck owner. i love my truck it will always be a ram either 1500 or 3500. Does the F150 sound likE a great name hell no. Oh sliverado sounds so nice. Who cares what the name is. Its going to be called a Ram 1500 or RAM 2500. Thats what i drive. It will always be built under chrysler. If for some reason between now and 2014. The company splits you knoW they want to sell the jeep brand. Thats the strongest of all of them and if they can save Ram trucks thats the other. Other than that DODGE and Chrysler will be like AMC, oldmoblie, pontica saturn and some where in an auto musems in the next 30 years. So stop your bitching already... enough. DRIVE YOUR TRUCKS AND SHUT UP!!

i think this name swap is already causing alot of confusion and problems for crysler. They are still being built in the same place by the same people as of now... it's no big deal. I for one am more concerned about the viper disappearing, it is the signiture vehicle for chrysler and with the separation this may no longer be the case. It has been a dream of mine for a slong as i can remember to own one.

bobevans,
Actually Dodge is Chrysler's strongest division...and Dodge truck buyers are the most loyal to Chrysler products..Jeep owners couldnt care less about Dodge..Until 1 year ago the Dodge Ram outsold the whole Jeep line combined...Dodge was Chrysler's strongest brand.Your point about F-150 and Silverado is useless they are still a Ford and a Chevrolet the Ram is a 1500 !!!!

Actually the dropping of the Dodge name on the trucks is a big deal..bigger deal than the dropping of the Viper next summer..the Viper may come back in 2012 or so at 80 units a month no big loss,but the Dodge Ram is dead 13,000 + units a month at its low point (now)...so are many loyal Dodge owners..I do not want the name Fiat eventually slapped in front of a Ram truck so I will not buy a Ram..a Dodge Ram sure but I am sceptical about buying a Ram Truck by Fiat !!!!

chrysler should be for cars
dodge should be for trucks
jeep should be for...you know.....for jeeps.............
and kill the liberty name bring back the icon....CHEROKEE.

Unibody pick ups don't sell? Does "El Camino" or "Ranchero" ring a bell? I think the US needs a small, no frills, inexpensive pickup that gets great gas mileage. It needs to be priced under (way under) the current Tacoma. Kids will flock to them.

I'm less concerned with what they call the trucks. Their main concern should be improving upon the quality reliability and capabilities of the trucks. I won't buy a Dodge 1500 right now - why? Two reasons mostly - the 545RFE transmission (the proverbial achillies heal of the truck) and the coil spring rear suspension. A friend has one and put less than 800 pounds in it - it looked like it needed a forklight to straighten it out - NO THANKS! Keep the coil springs in the cars. Even the best marketing will fail if the product doesn't compete. Focus on the product and the marketing/naming will all fall into place.

@bobevans: If You would buy an very expensive car like Bentley or Rolls Royce and it will actually be re-badged/renamed VW or BMW - wouldn't be any matter for You? What's the Maybach? Only sick expensive (previous) Mercedes S-class...but dumb people are buying it...gosh! It's very important if the same truck is Dodge or Fiat - that's what the brand-image-power means! You're building it for years, but can damage with only one stupid decision!!!

The Ranchero went out of production in 1979 due to poor sales. The El Camino went out of production in the mid-1980s due to poor sales. Need I say more?

Let me get this worked out...an Italian car company wants to come in and tell Chrysler/Dodge what their pickup truck should be called? I'm going to look up how you say STUPID IDIOTS in Italian and get back with them.

Fiat currently holds 30% interest in Dodge. Does this give them enough clout to dictate the direction Dodge/Ram is going? It will be interesting to see if it's Fiat's call or if Dodge messed this one up all on their own.

Rancheros and El Caminos were cars with beds, literally. A unibody Dakota replacement will put the nail in the coffin. And for you people saying the name change doesn't matter; You're missing the point. They're not giving the Ram a stupid name; they're taking AWAY part of the name. It is a big deal. I don't drive a Ram. I drive a DODGE Ram. One of the lasts ones at this point!!

all u dum@sses that are switching brands just for a name are truly retarded...why would u change just bc they change the name? its the same truck dips***s..if they renamed it the pony express id still buy it as long as it was made the same

If they're going to name the pickups Ram instead of Dodge, the unibody vehicles should be called Ewes.

I believe dropping the Dodge name is a LARGE MISTAKE. I can go back to the year 1933 and the DODGE pick up truck had the Ram as a radiator cap as it depicted the aura of toughness. The name Dodge and the Ram have been synonymous to my earliest recollection which is obviously, in my case 76 years. So why mess with a good thing that has lasted that long. The whole concept sounds stupid to me, so hey guys at the top, leave the name as DODGE RAM TRUCK. It even looks good in print and it preserves the legacy of a GREAT BRAND IDENTIFICATION. There is a lot of history and sweat equity in that brand,

I can’t get my head wrapped around their reasoning for separating Dodge from Ram. Just doesn’t seem like a wise move for their #1 selling Dodge product. This also looks like another dealer contractual agreement nightmare.

It almost looks like Chrysler Group LLC is already preparing for their own demise where they can quickly sell off the Ram brand if they ever have to.

I can’t get my head wrapped around their reasoning for separating Dodge from Ram. Just doesn’t seem like a wise move for their #1 selling Dodge product. This also looks like another dealer contractual agreement nightmare.

It almost looks like Chrysler Group LLC is already preparing for their own demise where they can quickly sell off the Ram brand if they ever have to.

There's only one reason to separate the trucks out from the "Dodge" brand; to establish separate entities so that one of the two may later be sold/shut down without impacting the other. The Chrysler and Dodge car business have virtually no value and are not likely to continue much longer. The Dodge Truck (RAM)/Jeep business is, however, a viable entity as either a division of Fiat or for future sale to a Chinese or Indian company when Fiat needs the cash.

This is not just a name change. The WHOLE company is about change. You brand loyalists who think this is only about a name, need to wake up. Fiat (Italian owned) Ram.

I have a hat that says "DODGE". I have a hat that says "DODGE RAM". I will not go hunting with a bunch of guys with a hat that says "RAM".

The separation of the new Ram truck brand would allow Fiat to make Dodge more of a performance car brand, the sources said.
But the move could also make it easier for Chrysler to spin off its truck business down the road if a continuing slump forced Fiat or US government officials to consider such a step. (just-auto.com)
As for the new Ram brand, much will stay the same with the current pickup quite new in the marketplace and the new heavy duty trucks having just been introduced this year. Impressively, Ram brand CEO Fred Diaz commented that Ram is looking at building a full-sized 18-wheeler rig (autonews)

More scary news for Dodge Ram guys!!!!!!!

Lou N (formerly known as Lou)

Let's face it, in a few years there's not going to be much left of what we have known as the Chrysler Corporation. The real truth behind all of this is that Fiat desperately wants to enter the US market and they are going to use Chrysler to do it. Most of what Dodge/Chrysler will be selling in a few years will be re-badged Fiat's anyway. And let's not forget that Fiat has a poor quality reputation, so god help what's left.
Dodge or Ram? It doesn't really matter any more.

Fix-It-Again-Tony (FIAT)

... WTF, it's still a DODGE RAM, they call it RAM... well if it's a problem just start selling aftermarket DODGE RAM logos and earn some bucks. Just marketing. And yes they want to sell a "Sprinter" from IVECO, 2 in fact, one big and the other smaller. Plus a Heavy truck from based in IVECO Strator. The RAMs based in Iveco Daily and Iveco Strator are gonna be produced in USA. Stop crying americans, now i realize you are a bunch of sissies. Have a nice day. A proud RAM user from Argentina.

Billram@ - there is mass confusion, frustration, and anger right now amongst loyal Dodge guys/gals. The people in charge have done nothing to stop this. Their new commercial is a farce. Allay the fears of consumers and things probably will settle out fine. There is nothing worse than the fear of the unknown.

Fiat Ram, lol. That'd be embarrassing...

Chrysler's Dodge Truck division is the only part of the company that's worth anything. The reason for splitting "Ram" off is so that it can be sold to the Chinese for a nice sum of cash that can then be used to retool Chrysler plants to build Fiat based Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat cars and to fund the expensive marketing campaign that is required to re-launch Fiat in the U.S.

What a bad idea !!!!

Really bad idea !!!!!

It has to be a DODGE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

It makes no sense,Fiat/Chrysler says the reason for this is to create a youthful Dodge brand ? More young people drive Dodge trucks than any other Dodge model..Yes,the under 30 crowd may not drive brand new Dodge trucks but look and see how many under 30 year olds drive pre-2005 Dodge trucks and they seem to like them..Then when they have some extra cash they most likely will buy a new Dodge truck...Thats what I did...my 3 friends (Dodge Ram)..and my girlfriend (Dakota).And we live in an urban area,in the Pacific North West...

It's true that the Ridgeline doesn't sell well for what ever reasons. I own a Ridgeline with 176524 miles on it. No rattles a good smooth ride. If a company builds a Unitbody correctly it works great. Look under a Ridgeline and you might think twice before your say unitbodys don't work on trucks. It's how they are built is what counts.

I think Dodge could build a unitbody truck that would be fine if they build it right. Maybe it would cost too much to do it correctly. I suspect to do it correctly cost would be a factor in how well it would sell.

It seems pretty obvious someone expects Dodge to go under and this move allows them to continue the Ram trucks.

Boo hoo hoo.

It's a minor rebrand. Journalists like you will make a big stink about it, but most people probably won't care. Like you said, it'll still be sold at the same dealers, and it's likely a lot of people won't notice.
Buyer: "I'm interested in a full-size truck."
Salesman: "Let me show you some of our Ram lineup."

Likewise, a missing "Dodge" badge won't steer away passionate Dodge Ram owners. They'll still come back as long as there's a decent truck.

Say what you will about 1500/2500/3500 nomenclature, but Ford's been doing just fine with a mere F-XXX name for quite some time.

@Alan: Swing and a whiff. Its the wrong decision to drop the Dodge name from Chrysler's most popular vehicles, walking away from almost a century of history (Ram Power Wagon just rolls off the tongue) and using bailout cash to start a fourth brand when that money should be injected into product development.

While were at it, lets drop the Bentley name and start a Continental brand. Or let's use your Ford example. Ever seen the Ford Trucks logo that drops at the end of every Ford truck commercial? Go ahead, drop the Ford in Ford trucks and start the F-Series brand. That'll do wonders for sales and pleasing your most demanding customers.

Minor rebrand? Wake up.

I think the point is missed.

RAM was separated from the dodge lineup to protect it, because it is indeed over a quarter of all of Chrysler's revenue. In case Dodge folded, or if they had to sell of sections of chrysler, they would have RAM intact.

So basically, dodge is free to sink or swim, Ram is safe from whatever happens to it. Dodge is going to be extremely different in the next few years with the integration of Fiat into it, and the move to make it more of the youth/performance brand of chrysler's lineup. That doesn't mix well with the truck image associated with it currently.

Chrysler tried the same thing YEARS ago on the car side when they tried to establish Imperial as a seperate brand. People call them "Chrysler Imperials" to this day. Seperating Ram from Dodge really doesn't make much sense to me. I've heard that it could have something to do with Fiat wanting to enter the big rig market in the US. Who knows.



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