New Ram Exec Proves He Knows His Stuff

Reid Bigland Ram HD II

In a clear attempt to prove to the media that he's up to the challenge of moving from Dodge to Ram Truck, Ram's new CEO and President Reid Bigland sat down with a few members of the media to talk trucks. During the course of a 90-minute lunch, topics such as current and past sales, new models and even the current state of the loan industry were all up for discussion.

According to Scott Burgess from Truck Trend magazine, there was so much for him to say that he barely had time to pick through his salad and didn't even touch his main dish.

Among the topics discussed were:

  • Former Ram President Fred Diaz did a pretty good job laying the groundwork, and now it's up to Bigland not to screw it up.
  • Bigland is quite happy with the Ram 1500's positioning against the competition.
  • He is excited about the fact there continues to be a strong appetite for high-end pickups.
  • He likes the idea of a smaller pickup but can't see it working at the necessary price point.
  • He said there will be more utility vans coming from Ram Truck.

We expect it will take a while for Bigland to get comfortable in his new role, but if his command of all the major hot pickup truck topics is any indication, this could bode well for Ram Truck's future. His likely first big test will be with the premiere pickup truck show later in September when he attempts to carry the Ram Truck momentum into the State Fair of Texas and into the Texas Auto Writers Association's annual truck competition the month after that.

This is clearly a big year for Ram Truck, but maybe even more importantly for its new top executive. We wish him good luck.

ReidBigland16 II

 

Comments

Fix those lame tow mirrors. Get rid of coils for the rear. Hire someone that actually tows at or near capacity all over the us to help with technical expertise of equipement/dash layouts.

Someone like me :)

What is wrong with coil springs? Locomotives and train cars switched from leaf springs to coil springs a LONG time ago. And obviously they are moving a lot more weight than any truck. I think it is a good idea.

@ ScottB then Ram needs to grow some balls and put some heavier duty coils in their trucks. The current coils are too light duty for any serious towing. Using your logic, since Semi trucks use C-Channel frames they must be the best for heavy towing. Yet you guys bash Ford and Toyota for using them? Sounds hypocritical...

S scottb, those coils make the rear squirm all over. Lower the capacity. Instead of improving..they nuetered.

"He likes the idea of a smaller pickup but can't see it working at the necessary price point."

From the Truck Trend article:

- "While many have clamored for a true small pickup, it does not look as if a little Dakota is in the works.

"The theory is pretty good," Bigland said of a true midsize or small pickup. Build something with moderate capabilities, good gas mileage and a low starting price.

"I get it, something to carry some dirt or mulch and have a $16,000 price tag."

The problem, Bigland continued, is that, with all the required safety features and expected creature comforts, the math doesn't add up for a small pickup. The average transaction price of a compact Dodge Dart, the right-size platform for a little pickup, is $22,000. At that price, a little pickup doesn't make as much sense because a much bigger and more capable Ram is available.

"I can buy into the vision," Bigland said, "but when I crunch the numbers, I don't see it." -

And there you have it, folks. It just doesn't work in the US market. Even that little Mahindra pickup that soooooo many people said they'd buy was going to come between $20k and $25k - back in 2009! It would be even higher now.

I'm going to make some popcorn and wait for the bashers to start claiming that Reid doesn't know what he's talking about.

Guts
Glory
Reid bigland
Ram!!!

It will always be a Dodge Ram to most. There is no challenge here for this guy. It's like if Ford just calling their truck F-Series and didn't use the Ford part or if the Chevrolet Silverado just was called Silverado instead. People would always still call them Ford's and Chevrolet's anyway. Fiatsler is obviously planning on dumping Dodge altogether at some point. There was no other reason to do something so ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the SRT stunt.

About the coil springs: I don't get the hate. Most half tons are used as "lifestyle vehicles," bass boats and single axle utility trailers are the common fare. For as little a time those are actually hooked up, coils provide a better ride.

Also, if you need heavier towing in the half ton, ram, there is an air suspension option thats arguably better than a leaf spring. And a ram 2500 with the hemi and leaf springs is still out there, and really beyond 10,000lbs none of the half tons handle it as well as an HD truck.

That's a very lucky fella. He was given a strong position. I will say though, kudos to Bigland for acknowledging Diaz's work and recognizing that his number one priority is don't screw it up.

I sort of agree with Marcus. The coils immensly improve the ride and if Ram were so inclined they could put modestly strengthend coils underneath the 1500 to get another 400 lbs of payload capacity (to be honest I sort of expected this to happen when the 8-speed and other updates were done).

From all of the reviews I have read on the new GM twins they are far more comfortable to ride in than previous generations but still fall short of Ram. I think both niches are there and I applaude offering the consumer more choices.

I personally want Ram to have more payload since that likely also limites towing capacities too. Another 400 lbs across the board would likely have them up around the new GM's and where Ford has been. That is about the only thing keeping me from ordering a 2014 with the new Ecodiesel.

@Scott,

What is whrong with the tow mirrors ?

Did you know when you dont use them for towing,you move them back to regular position !

My 02 Dodge 1500 had the same mirrors basically,when towing you pull them out,and flip it up.When not towing you move them back into regular position.Same with the new ones,when towing you pull them out as the picture shows.

Tow mirrors are the best invention,its like 2 mirrors in 1.

Why dont you like them ? I guess you dont know how they work or look like !

@Scott,

The RAM he is standing by in the picture has tow mirrors,when towing you flip them and pull them out.What is wrong with that ?


Back in the day we had those ugly big mirrors that stuck out,all the time ! Dodge since the late 90's had this type of mirror.

I guess the coils are here to stay, as the 2014 will get a coil option in the 2500's. The 1500 has always been on the low side for payload compared to GM and Ford. So they are in keeping with that premise. Now they still have the same low payload but a better ride. Bitter sweet.

For me, I would consider a small mid-sized Pickup at the 20-25K price point. My biggest desire is for the SIZE of the truck to fit my needs. I don't need a full size truck, and the packaging of a full size truck is more than what I would want to have. Parking, driving, turning, everything is bigger.

I totally understand that I am an exception that proves the rule. 99.99% of US buyers would look at a small (possibly in FWD) truck that costs as much with similar content and less capacity, and would opt for the full sized truck every time.

I just want my 1989 Dodge RAM 50 back!! (but I would swap the mitsu sourced engine for a new pentastar)

or better yet, get rid of the chicken tax and bring one of these over: http://www.scrum-truck.mazda.co.jp/?link_id=gc

@John: You may have confused me with someone else that bashes trucks, but I can count on one hand how many times I have actually posted on PUTC. Also, as it concerns the frames, I have no opinion on C-Channel frames. Like you said, they are good enough for large trucks (of which I have many at my shop) so they are probably good enough for a light truck. It's all in the engineering.

Side note: I am a Toyota fan as well as a Ram fan.

I realize those are the tow mirrors and I know how the dodge operates them.

Poor design imho.

Yes the 3/4 tn's are now coil sprung rears too. a big step backwards. That...is not a heavy duty suspenion unless they are some big coils, which they are not.

If you don't want coils, buy the 3500. Or try having an open mind and waiting for the reviews. It sounds like Ram is placing the 2500 at the lifestyle purchaser who occasionally pulls a heavy (10k-15k lb) trailer. The advantages are likely to be more comfort and better articulation for off-road. If only there was a diesel in between the 3.0 and 6.7, such as a 4.5-5.0 V8. This would provide a better balance between performance and fuel economy, which would be perfect for the Power Wagon.

@ scott how do u know they wont be strong enough? Have u seen them? Have u tested one? No i dont think so troll!
Guts
Glory
Only truck maker tha has the balls to be different
RAM!!!!

No...on the 3/4tn I don't think anyone has gotten a hold of one yet.

We willl see.

@troy It isn't the functionality of the mirrors, it's that they're ugly. But that's all personal preference. To me, the design looks like it should be on a car, not a truck. It's like car mirrors on a truck.

Talking about the same looking?????

Trains have coil springs but they also require leaf springs on the frame. Without leaf springs the trains would not have any flexibility and would derail.The coil springs are bigger and they use more of them and they have almost no flex. The wheels are all steel. There is no comparison to a train and a Ram that uses car springs and leaves so we can just stop with that argument.

The crew of this caboose rides safer with leaf springs protecting them from being thrown side-to-side by sudden lurches in the track.

http://www.heavenr.com/railroad/springs.html

Trains do use coil springs but its not for a comfortble ride its just enough suspension to keep the train car from falling apart on the steel wheels and steel track. They also use leaf springs in conjunction with the coils. No comparison with the weak coil spring no leaf setup on the Rams.

I like a air bag/leaf spring rear set up, but I think the rear coil set up is pretty dumb on a 3/4 ton truck. They should have just made the air springs standard, and it would ride better, have more payload and towing. I hope they are better than the 1500 rear spring set up, those things squat with just a lawn mower in the back. I can see GM and Ford picking up some 2500 and F-250 sales here.

@Glenn: "The problem, Bigland continued, is that, with all the required safety features and expected creature comforts, the math doesn't add up for a small pickup. The average transaction price of a compact Dodge Dart, the right-size platform for a little pickup, is $22,000. At that price, a little pickup doesn't make as much sense because a much bigger and more capable Ram is available."

You really don't get it--nor do a number of others here whenever the discussion of compact pickups come around. Let me repeat one sentence: "... a much bigger and more capable Ram is available." Key words here: "MUCH BIGGER". People who want a compact truck simply DON'T WANT "much bigger", they want SMALLER. For many, "much bigger" means TOO BIG.

You describe a nice compact car at $22K and this really would be a near-ideal price for a compact truck with approximately the same level of luxury, just like so many of the so-called compact SUVs; they'd just offer a proper load bed where DIYers and light-duty users can carry properly oversized or dirty loads without messing up their SUV or having the load hang out the back end.

Wow - that guy looks like a body builder, huh?

If Ram's innovation over the last 5 years is any indication of the future, I'd say it's very good to be in the Ram truck business. From the decision to go with an independent rear suspension, to the integration of an 8-speed transmission and air suspension to save fuel, to the coming baby diesel, Ram is doing a LOT.

Meanwhile, Toyota is doing nothing, GM is doing a bunch of stuff no one can see, and Ford is hoping that the EcoBoost brand name doesn't blow up in their faces.

Like I said, it's a good time to be in the Ram truck business. Exciting times!

MORE GUTS

MORE GLORY

KICKING FORD AND GM'S BUTT
AT THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

2014 RAM!!!

Coils can work just fine in a HD pickup provided the suspension is engineered correctly.

This Bigland guy sounds alright, I hope he says around long enough to do something meaningful. That's the real question.

It's been said before, and it needs to be said again, Chrysler as a whole really needs to get their quality under control. They are doing a little better in some of the recent surveys, but those surveys are only concerning initial quality and dealership experiences. Compare a 5 year old Ram to a 5 year old GM or Ford, there's a difference!

@FordTrucks1
Dodge as a brand has been phased out from FIATS Global lineup.Fiat is
concentrating on Jeep Globally

Believe it when you see it. More production delays with the 2014 Jeeps are being reported. Don't count on the new version 2014 Ram HD's or 2014 LD diesel real soon, but expect delays.

Reid Biglands comments are a little confusing. He states on one hand that high end pickups are more or less doing extremely well. This indicates that most are spending big bucks on a pickup.

Then on the other hand he stating that $22 000 is too much for a small pickup?

How cheap are high end pickups in the US? $23 000?

He also stated that $22 000 is about the price for a small pickup. It that manufactured in the US only, what about an imported small pickup?

If CAFE, Chicken Tax and all the other technical barriers were not in the way you could have cheaper small pickups.

These shouldn't be a threat to your full size trucks. That's the impression I've gotten from bloggers on this site.

@Glenn
Where did you pluck the $25 000 for a Mahindra? Out of your poop chute? That's about what we pay for them in Australia and that's a diesel. We are also paying at least 33% more for equivalent vehicles.

That would make a 4x4 diesel Mahindra in the US below $20 000.

The Mahindra example is very poor. DenverMike uses that as an example also...........Glenn:)

@Vulpine
I think Reid's maths is a little out or he's talking that the vehicles are manufactured in the US.

We get little pickups for that price here in Australia and they are the Japanese branded trucks.

As my previous blog points out we are paying about 33% more for an equivalent vehicle here. So an imported Japanese base model pickup would be less than US$18 000.

That's a midsizer as well, long wheelbase.

If you could get your hands on a Great Wall 4x4 dual cab, A/C, leather and power everything you should be able to have them for about US$20 000.

All Fiat has to do is manufacture the Rampage concept on a full chassis in Thailand or somewhere with the 4 cylinder diesel or the Pentastar that's in the Wrangler and they will have an instant global pickup. Then import it into the US.

What is the fixation on coil springs?
Most likely the same fixation regarding torsion arms.
It becomes a convenient reason to slag a product that has them.
The Ram 1500 isn't a good comparison to a HD. Ram has admitted point blank that if one needs to tow or haul then move up to a heavier truck.
I do think that from a tow/haul perspective the Ram 1500 air ride system has been a let down. The Ram 1500 lost the 1/2 ton challenge based primarily on the ability to carry a load. I believe that for me and most truck buyers, cargo capacity is more important. I can buy an SUV that can tow pretty much the same as a 1/2 ton if towing is all I want.

Bigland's comments regarding a "smaller" pickup are in line with common truck orthodoxy and manufacture profit margins. A small truck will cost a similar amount to a full sizer to build. Ram has the Fiat Strada that it could rebadge as a lifestyle truck but buyers tend to be traditional regardless of size.
The whole price point idea is in many respects a weak excuse to use against small trucks. I'm sure that I'll be bombarded with "cheapskate" buyer comments. Cheapskate buyers whether they be fleet or private account for a very small part of truck sales. The number is less than 10% when one looks at Toyota Tacoma sales. Most Tacoma's fall into the mid to higher level trims if one does a dealer search or looks at what is on the streets.
Bigland is their to make money for Fiat. Watering down sales and profits amount brands isn't sound business sense.

Most buyers want a small truck because they prefer the size. The decision is primarily one of size, maneuverability, ease of parking etc. Price points are secondary.

I suspect that a small truck from Chrysler/Fiat would most likely emerge from the Jeep line.

@Lou
We have a coil sprung Nissan Patol one tonne ute here and it performs very well.

Reviews have stated it outperforms its leaf sprung brother.

Coil springs can be set for a better ride.

As for weight carrying, the coils are very similar to the leafs.

The reason why leafs are dominant is costs are much cheaper. Just stick either end of the leaf spring on the chassis.

Also progressive springing rates are easier to manufacture.

Coils will give a better, safer ride and still have the capacity to carry weight.

@Lou
Reid has to sell the Fiat/Chrysler line, this must be remembered.

Remember Fiat/Chrysler is essentially the only large global vehicle manufacturer that doesn't have a smaller pickup in its inventory.

He will not push a small pickup, they don't have any.


Now we'll see if all those people crying about not having a half ton diesel and those claiming to buy it tomorrow from whomever is first to introduce it will put their money where their mouth is. I suspect that if its more than a few thousand extra there's going to be a lot of back peddling and excuses - just like those that claim they'd only get manual transmissions but when it's actually offered the take rate is absolutely dismal.

Posted by: PUT UP OR SHUT UP | Feb 13, 2013 11:39:44 PM

Is that you DenverMike?

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jun 30, 2013 11:42:45 PM

@Lou
I'll rephrase my comment, full chassis smaller pickup.

Sorry.

Here DenverMike Sat So Broken Hearted
Went To Poop But Only Farted
Yesterday DenverMike Took A Chance
Went To Fart And Pooped His Pants

@Big Al -
That is ultimately the point. He is a salesman first and foremost. His job is to sell what they make.
They don't make a small truck and since it costs billions to develop a new product, there isn't a sound business case.
He isn't lying or putting down small trucks, he is telling the truth but that truth is based on his reality. He is working within the paradigm established by North American based companies, buyer preference and barriers.

No need to build a small truck, not in (t)his paradigm.
Leave that to Toyota and Nissan (and eventually GMC).

I don't see a concern with the Coil springs.
My son has a 2010 RAM that he tows a Race car on a open trailer.
Weight in the 6000LB range.
Very stable & no problems towing.
Rides very nice when empty.
I think RAM did the right thing on the 1500 with the Coils.
If you need something bigger, get a 2500 or 3500.

Those 3 control arms on each side for both coil and air suspensions are key! As long as payload isn't compromised and sway and yaw is controlled it should be fine. I agree with others, the 1500 coil suspension was not designed for payload, but for ride comfort. I'd say RAM is definitely committed to their business plan with producing 1500 for specific lighter hauling needs or 2500/3500HD for heavier haulers.

Everybody.
For the last time. The Ram 1500 DID NOT lose the light duty challenge because of towing, but because of "manufacturers ratings." And since the manufactures don't use the same standard, to use the ratings was a completely bullshit call which completely undermined an otherwise good testing regime. It's like having a contest for axle articulation, the announcing a winner based on larger tires "because larger tires make it easier to roll over larger obstacles and therefore increase articulation."

This is a direct quote from the section on towing and payload.

"We should note that although the Ram 1500 only offered a calculated maximum towing capacity of 8,350 pounds, it did all our towing tests and fuel economy loops with the 8,500-pound trailer with confidence and control."

In other words, it towed above its rating but was penalised because said rating was low.

Scott said "Fix those lame tow mirrors. Get rid of coils for the rear. Hire someone that actually tows at or near capacity all over the us to help with technical expertise of equipement/dash layouts.

Someone like me :)"

What an asinine argument.

If you tow at near capacity all the time then you need to buy a 3/4 ton truck, not a half ton. It's called "margin of safety."

I don't drive my car at 6300rpm all the time just because the red line is 6400rpm.

The vehicle should be able to tow at it's max rating, but it likely tows more comfortably at less than it's max rating.

It's also a lot better riding than any other pickup sold in the US.
Buy the right tool for "near max" towing.

Nothing wrong with coil springs on a half ton. They provide a better ride and are just plane better.

@Lou
I suppose it shows how uncompetitive Chrysler is when they can't produce a small pickup for under $22 000.

If that is the way Fiat/Chrysler views the market, then that is sad.

They've invested a substantial amount of money in the Ram, they don't want to compete against themselves and sell a vehicle that doesn't have the same profit margin.

It's not about what the customer wants, but what the manufacturer is prepared to invest in. That's similar to Ford if you don't like what we have buy a F-150.

Also, his comments would suggest the 'baby' Ram for $27 000 shouldn't be viable. So really is he speaking the truth or is Reid spinning a bit.

But the barriers do prevent a competitive vehicles entering. Even VW stated that about bringing the Amarok into the US market. If you can't manufacture in the US you have no chance to supply a pickup.

VW won't because sales will be dismal.

Ram and GM sells trucks made in Mexico and Canada, Ford out of Turkey.

@ Jason- Lol yes he does. Hey, if I made a crap load of money at a job that didn't require much if any physical labor, I would too!

No offense intended for BAFO, but the article is saying Ram can't understand a small truck at the price point needed and we've had this disussion, well, a lot.

And I'm pretty sure that Ford is over the sub $20,000 market for trucks in the USA, that's why there has been no development on this subject in the past several years.

@Jason
I do question the $22 000 figure. That is in Australian numbers, not the US, which is substantially cheaper.

To me this seems a little high.

My mother just bought a made in Mexico Focus last year, mid spec, power everything for $16 000 driveaway in NJ.

A small FWD pickup, not even a midsizer wouldn't cost what he's claiming.

We were getting the small Jumbuck FWD pickup with a 1.6 litre engine in Australia for under $16 000.

I'm sorry, I don't believe the figure he's quoted or where he has gotten them from.

@BigAl - Bigland said in a round about way that they will not undercut a 22,000 dollar Dart. If 22,000 is what they feel would be the price cut off for a pickup - no wonder why they won't spend billions developing a small truck. As the Ecoodiesel press release pointed out - Quote "2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200".
Chrysler/Fiat has realized the same thing that Ford did a while back ; number 1 in profits is much more important that #1 in sales.
Prime example -
GMC is trying to be #1 in sales (globally or otherwise) but Ford made 2.5 times the profits. Even VW sells less than GMC but makes 3 times the profits.

There is NO business case for Fiat to build a small truck or rebadge a Strada since there are higher profit margins in full sized pickups. Ram will just keep adding more trim levels like Ford has done.

Under current market conditions which include having to build under UAW labour coupled with tariff protection - there is no business case. Even setting up shop in Mexico would still cost Fiat close to a billion if a new small truck were to be built - again, no business case.
Bigland isn't lying, he is just pointing out the 4 walls and ceiling to the truck box that is the USA market.

Those who live in countries that don't have a decent market of full size trucks won't ever understand why we overwhelmingly choose them. That would probably change if we had their fuel prices, but it doesn't look like that will happen in the foreseeable future. Seriously, I've driven both and don't see the reason for a small cramped truck that rides like a wagon. All I hear is the can't maneuver or park a big truck argument. If one drives a larger vehicle he becomes accustomed to it and it's not a problem. Now if you have a tiny garage, that's another problem. Park your Prius in there and let your truck have some air.



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