Ram Truck sprung a few surprises at the State Fair of Texas. With more than 100 local and national media outlets in attendance, the truck-maker took the wraps off two more new trucks and increased the reach of its RamBox storage system.
Ram is banking on the fact that the new Tradesman will be an industry hit, offering class-leading towing and hauling capacity with a strong value story to tell. The idea of the Tradesman is pretty simple: provide the most value and work capability as possible. That typically means crank windows, manual door locks and rubber floormats. And when the 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman is measured against its Ford and GM competition, the numbers pan out pretty well against its regular cab half-ton competitors.
But Ram is going a step further by expanding the Tradesman’s reach to include a competition-beating regular cab long-bed model. But there is a twist: The all-new Ram 1500 Tradesmen HD is actually a dressed-up (or is it dressed-down?) regular cab 2500 underneath. Yes, those are leaf springs and a heavy-duty frame underneath the new 1500 Tradesman HD, but Ram still technically calls it a 1500 to be more closely aligned to its short-bed regular cab Ram 1500 sibling.
The 1500 Tradesman HD will offer a class-leading (measured against the Ford XL and Chevy Silverado LT models) 3,100 pounds of payload and a class-leading maximum towing capacity of 11,500 pounds (GCWR 17,500). It will only be offered with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission.
Ram hopes both Tradesman pickups (short bed and long bed) will be a perfect fit for hard-working small-business owners, construction job site contractors and fleet operators. Expect pricing to start around $30,000.
The Express is Ram’s value-priced sport model that offers monochromatic paint schemes, plenty of standard equipment, 20-inch rims, fog lights and more starting under $25,000. Pricing for the Quad Cab four-door will start at $28,050, and crew-cab models will begin at $30,210. (Neither price includes destination charges.) The Hemi is standard on all Express models.
The final piece of big news from Ram is that a longer 6-foot 4-inch RamBox is now available on all Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models where applicable. The weatherproof, lockable storage unit will now be available for regular cab and Quad Cab half-ton models as well as three-quarter-ton and 1-ton (single-rear-wheel only) regular cab, Quad Cab and Mega Cab models. That means the RamBox will be available to more than 80 percent of all Ram pickups, including the Power Wagon. (We think that will make it especially attractive to the National Park and Forest Service, not to mention military personnel).
The new box size offers 18 percent more room, with almost 9 cubic feet of cargo space. Both RamBox lengths — there will also be a 6-foot 4-inch unit — will cost $1,295, 32 percent lower compared with last year.
The larger RamBox option will continue to include the tailgate extender and cargo rail slider system with adjustable tie-downs. Although sales of the RamBox option was initially sluggish, we’d expect this larger-model lineup will help boost take-rate numbers.
More pictures from the 2011 State Fair of Texas are below.