Chrysler Considering 3rd Shift for Ram 1500

Ram 1500 2013

Chrysler is deciding whether to add a third shift at the Warren Truck Plant, where the 2012 Ram 1500 is being built, to meet current and predicted growing demand. Operations at the Michigan assembly plant will soon morph into building the significantly upgraded 2013 Ram 1500.

Reid Bigland, CEO of the Dodge brand and head of U.S. sales, noted that much of the decision hinges on some of the suppliers and their ability to boost output, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Sales numbers have been good and seem to be improving for the half-ton Ram, and there are high expectations for the 2013 model. But decisions like this need to be seriously considered from many angles.

The 75-year-old plant is now running two full shifts and has been meeting increased demand with occasional overtime runs; however, adding another shift, which could add as many as 800 new workers, would mean Chrysler and Ram Truck executives would have to be sure about future demand and the strength of the U.S. economy to make that significant investment. Of course, they can't wait too long: Production of the 2013 model trucks is likely to start by September.


@Mr.Truck, Car dealers go to auctions and buy used trucks they can sell for profit. Where is your bad trans proof?

I have a 9 year old Hemi Ram. I have 35's and tow an 8,000 lbs
tow hauler up mountain passes doing 70mph at 5,000 R.P.M.
Take my rig to pismo beach dunes and pull through the sand. Has 72,000 miles. Still shifts smooth as a babies @$$.

In case you guys missed it, I do own a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit 4X4 V6 I bought for my wife. I just hope that it will be as good as our 2008 Highlander still is. That remains to be seen. My former Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep experiences sucked!

And the reason I think that my Tundra is the best truck I have ever owned is because I owned both a Silverado and an F150, at the same time.

They both were sorry trucks and had lots of warranty issues. After the warranty expired I had to replace all the failed parts with the help of Autozone.

I'm having a better ownership experience with my Tundra than I ever did with either the Silverado or the F150. So it is all about ownership experience. If YOU are happy with your ride, no one is telling you to change it. I'm not selling anything. I don't care what you drive. I'm not paying for it.

And as far as the RAM vs F150? The F150 is lightyears ahead of both the RAM and the Silverado, and the annual sales numbers support that.

Putting a V6 in a RAM still is no match for an EcoBoost V6 in an F150. A SUPERCHARGED V6 RAM might be, though.

We'll see IF RAM gets that third shift, and if they do, just how long that will last. Production is driven by sales. RAM sales are smaller than even the dated GM trucks.

I am certain that Sergio and the Fiat board will give this a long look before deciding if they're going to expand RAM production.

Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, yes! But how well the new RAM will sell, that also remains to be seen. If it sells well RAM can always up production with overtime. If sales remain the same, it would be hard to recoup the added expense of the third shift.

BTW, I'm against any kind of bailouts, handouts and nationalization for anyone, anywhere, in any sector, done by ANY administration, since I am an Independent.

@Mr Truck: Yeah, just what are those trans issues? From a gear ratio standpoint, yeah, a Chevy 6 speed provides a lower 1st gear and the ratios are more evenly spaced then the 545 RFE and whatever they call it this year. Thats the only real issue I know of, heck they technically had a 6 speed while Chevy and Ford had 4 speeds until 2007 (GM 6 speed) and 2009 (Ford 6 speed) Sure, the 2nd gears are close, 1.67 and 1.5 prime that is also used in tow haul. And there is two close overdrives, .75 and .67. But it doesn't slam into low gear while slowing, and I have yet to hear of them having issues installing bearings in them like the new 6 speed GMs. I tow cars with mine, my only complaint, is TOW HAUL, IE., the COMPUTER, holds it a bit too long in the one to one gear, instead of letting it go into the 5th gear, the .75 overdrive, after I crest a hill and I been off the gas. But that is to keep it from the constant hunting you get with a GM. I tow in the northwest Arkansas hills, no vibrations, leaks, always goes when I want it to, shifts up/down, no stalling in innersections, no clunking noise like my 2006 Chevy 4 speed made. Some are trading in their Rams thinking they will get better mileage with a 5.3 (and 70 less ft pounds torque) and end up saying "it's not hardly better on gas, cause you have to drive it harder in the hills to do what the Hemi easily does" Anybody thinking they would get 21 miles per gallon in these hills has no clue. Just alot more shifting.

I can't see Chrysler running a 3rd shift unless they already know that it would be profitable. Ram has made huge gains in sales. Assuming their are no further economic downturns - Ram is doing the right thing.
Kudos to Ram.

@Truckerman The 1994 up to 2000 or 2001 that body style auto tranmissions are the trouble ones they are talking about failing. Far as i know the newer ram trans are good other then there high first gear but thats no big problem.

"Ram has made huge gains in sales."

2008 245,840 sold pre bankruptcy

2011 244,763 2 years post bankruptcy

This is a loss. They haven't gained anything.

The 2013 Ram and Ram sales are like a mirage. They appear better than they actually are.

@Dave - in context to everyone else they are doing well considering 2008 was the start of the USA ecomomic downturn.
Ford posted sales of 515,513 in 2008 and in 2011 posted sales of 584,917. Not a big gain to brag about.
GMC combined posted sales of 633,609 in 2008 and dropped to 564,300 in 2011.
Since 2008 all of the car companies have been recovering. Sales gains are sales gains regardless of what they sold in their peak years.
I do hope that GM improves in the sales arena once their new trucks hit the market. GMC is still not out of the woods financially. Ford and Chrysler are on better ground overall. Some are predicting that GMC will need more government money. I hope not.

GM is burning money faster in Europe and Asia than the US can print it. Fleet sales in the US are not nearly as profitable as individual sales are.

-Yep. Europe's a huge reason why they took so much money from us. So they could prop up Opel (that's a Buick rebadge to the morons who buy them in the US). GM has to keep Buick here to prop up the failing Opel. And they have to keep GovtMoCo trucks on Buick lots so the dealers will stay afloat so Opel will stay afloat. They dumb down those Chevrolet cars and trucks in order to keep Buick-GMC going to keep Opel going. Yours and Mine taxdollars at work for Europe. Pathetic. GM should have died. 'Buick' Opel-GovtMoCo dealers should be boycotted.

@BOE: While I won't argue that Opel is having its problems, Opel is in more brands than just Buick. In fact, At least one Opel is in the Chevy lineup as well--at least for fleet purposes. I might also note that having owned a Saturn Vue for 10 years now--with an Opel engine/transaxle--I might note that the Opel isn't nearly as bad as you would like to imagine. 10 years; 150,000 miles and only just now needing to replace the clutch plates and having no major engine issues in that entire time. In fact, that Vue is still in my family as I just signed the title over to my father-in-law who flat loves it for its performance and economy. Yes, he's replacing the clutch--himself.

Interestingly, where Buick is seeing its best growth is in China where it simply doesn't have the "old folk's car" reputation riding its shoulders. If Opel is a part of Buick changing its staid reputation, then I'm all for it. Sure, there are those who think Opel is junk, but to be honest until you've driven one you really don't know. I won't claim to be a fan; I'm incensed that GM killed Olds, Saturn and Pontiac--each with a history in GM that set their own standards. I'm also incensed that GM almost refuses to build coupe versions of their sedans; I simply don't need and don't want a sedan yet I do like several of their models.

Now, I'll admit I don't have any experience with GM's trucks; I've only owned two trucks, a 1983 Mitsubishi and now a 1990 Ford F-150. Believe it or not, I liked the Mitsi better. The current trucks? Simply too big and too expensive. The next "New" pickup I will buy--if any--will be a Jeep. Preferably a Gladiator-style truck like the 2005 concept truck.

2008 is not a peak year. It is the year before they went bankrupt. A better look at Ram sales is in incomparison to sales before they went bankrupt. This gives perspective.

If I used to sell 100 widgets a year, then for 2 years sold less than 25 widgets per year............... then went back up to 50 widgets a year, it would look like a HUGE gain. Yet, in the overall perspective of the widget business, it is not nearly as impressive. (This is taking into account an econonmic downturn that the widget industry contracted by about 1/3 in that timeframe)

Ram sales have been disspointing. They are less disspointing than they were a couple years ago, but this is not a huge gain by any means. The problem with Ram is they are an off-brand. They can do all the improvements they want, they will still be an off-brand. Ford guys will stick with what works - Ford. Chevy guys will stick with Chevys specially after the new truck debuts in January. Sorry, Ram fans.


@Dave - Ram is the number 2 truck manufacturer in Canada. I used to never see Dodge trucks. When they first went to the "new" style in 1994 and with the Cummins I started seeing more and more of them. Currently I see more Rams and Fords then Sierra and Silverado. There is no reason why that could not happen in the USA. Your assumption that loyal Ford and Chevy guys will stay put is the same assumption used by the domestics for decades. Who currently dominates the USA car market? It isn't the domestics. Ram is hungry for market share. GMC lost 69,309 truck sales from 2008 to 2011. Ford only gained 69,404. One could argue that all of those Chevy guys changed over to Ford, but I bet a lot of them went to Ram. As you pointed out we are not talking about "glory day" peak sales. Ram is gaining sales faster than the Ford or Chevy. Conquest sales are always tough for companies. Pent up demand is an easier market to target. In the final analysis you are correct that the next gen Chevy could be the deal breaker for Ram.

GM had to do what it had to do to cut its losses. I've got a bud who mourns the loss of Hummer because he owns an H2, and it's an orphan.

Most Americans drive what they want to drive because they don't care about the price of gas. Gas is a bargain at any price. It beats walking.

I was an Olds fan for decades, but they weren't selling well so I ended up with orphans.

So that brings us to the sobriety of whether RAM should bring on a third shift. I don't have all the facts the way that Sergio and the Board do so I cannot make an edumacated WAG.

But what I can describe is the amount of factoring that goes into the decision making. So here we have RAM doing OK in relation to the expenses incurred with the two shifts.

Is RAM making enough profit to offset the cost of the third shift? And what are the prospects of increased sales if Fiat commits to bringing on the third shift?

Does Fiat expect that sales of the RAM will increase by at least half of what they are now? Past sales do not support that. The F150 will continue to outsell the RAM and the Silverado.

Can higher production levels be achieved by two shifts with increased overtime? That would be the simpler way to tackle the hoped-for increase in sales. If it doesn't happen, they just go back to normal production levels.

Fiat should not do what GM did with their truck production after the bailout and nationalization, which was to overproduce them to keep the UAW members working and then stuff the dealer channels and try to pimp them at $11,600 off MSRP. The entire Silverado fleet became a loss-leader. Can't make any money that way.

I know several GM fans that took advantage of that offer in MY area. Aside from the diehard RAM fans, I know no one that will dump a Silverado, F150, Tundra or Titan for a RAM.

A normally aspirated V6 in a RAM with a few extra gears in the transmission does not blow away an EcoBoost F150. I think that increased RAM sales are doubtful at best, but I do hope that Fiat decides to create the extra jobs in the US.

@Dave, Do you suffere from small penus syndrome? Did you know the 2013 Ram can actually increase your peenus size by up to 5 inches?


I could be wrong but I believe in Canada, Ram is the #2 brand. GM is the #2 truck manufacturer. You should see more Sierras and Silverados than Rams. If you don't, it may be because of your particular area has less GM and Chevy trucks, or you are just not looking for all the Sierras and Silverados as much as you look for Rams and Fords. I know in my area I see a lot of Rams because they are the only dealership in town.

The sales data shows Sierra and Silverado sell more than Ram.

@Dave -I do agree that there are regional variations to sales. My town does have a huge Chrysler dealership. The combined Chevrolet and GMC dealership is similar in size. The Ford dealership is a bit smaller than those 2.
As far as Canadian sales, Sierra is number 3 and Silverado is #4. I find it very funny as you will argue until you are blue in the face that combined sales don't count when the conversation comes to Ford and its #1 USA sales spot. If you want to combine sales then do so on a consistent basis.
I visit goodcarbadcar quite a lot. It has some interesting statistics. In May 2012 GMC combined outsold Ram by 1129 units. Broken down by badge - Ram sold almost twice as many sold by Silverado. They sold 50% more trucks than Sierra.
Ford handily beats them all.

@Dave, Obviously you are JEALOUS of Ram and all of your facts are wrong. Ram increases are HUGE!!!!! For 2012 Ram has unsurpassed V8 fuel economy and will have CLASS LEADING v6 fuel economy for 2013. This is nothing to be jealous about. In fact, the code of the west there is an unspoken code....NEVER COVET ANOTHER MAN'S RIDE!


The Pentastar V6 in its naturally aspirated form is not meant to compete with the ecoboost. The Hemi V8 is meant to compete with the ecoboost. I have no idea if Chrysler intends to turbo the Pentastar in the future, or possibly turbo the hemi, but you are not making a fair comparison to pit the NA pentastar V6 with the ecoboost. Also currently a LOT of people are having problems with Pentastar motors. I would recommend waiting if you are looking to buy one right now. Make sure they get these kinks out. Good news is Chrysler is standing behind their product and replacing everything wrong.

@johnny doe: My step ma has a 98 Dodge 5.9 2wd, quadcab 3.91 gears. My dad bought it new. It only has about 90K or just over, but most have been towing a hay trailer, 5th wheel travel trailer, 5th wheel horse trailer with living area, and a flatbead with a tractor, and once or twice one of my old Darts. I realize 90K isn't alot, but when you figure thats its primary use is trailer towing, its been used a good deal. If my dad and step ma needed to just go somewhere they would take the minivan, why drive a truck? And thats in hilly area, no trans issues yet. But the trans fluid does get changed. BTW, the early 90s every truck manufacturer with an auto had their share of issues. I had none cause in those days I have 4 speed manuals, and a 727. But my friends racecar hauler was a 91 F-250 club cab 4x4, it puked its 4 speed while towing. Still nothing wrong yet with my old 4 speed manual 1983!

@TRX4, They have to make problems up about RAM trucks because they fill threatened by them.Insecure about there own brand. The ignorant people on here. Ram and the Ram logo has
been a part of dodge form the beginning. They have their head so far up x brands @$$ they know nothing about the others.LOL

@HEMI V8 - you should read and learn from TRX Tom's posts. He is great at refuting anti-Ram BS with facts. Name calling just undermines one's credibility. I doubt that anyone out there is really jealous of another guys brand. I know I'm not. Unless they happen to be driving an Aston Martin DB9. That would be about the only driver I'd envy.

I will say my step ma turns off the overdrive in the hilly areas. At that point, it barely needs to downshift with the gear ratio, unless it gets to a much lower then highway speed. That's part of the trans problems, people running in overdrive and the constant up and downshift. Todays transmissions can handle being in overdrive better. Maybe it's the tougher trans, or the better power? Or a combo of the two. I have had an additional 7,000 in/behind my 2010 and drove in drive, yet that was interstate/ highway speeds. If I am in the steep hills or lower speeds, into tow haul it goes.

@TRX Tom: You just hit one of the nails on the head; you really do need to know when to take the tranny out of OD and let it do the job it's supposed to. I don't care if you have a 4-speed tranny (like my 1990 F-150) or an 8-speed, if that top gear is OD, then drop out of it if you're carrying a heavy load or running in hilly country. If need be, drop another gear and force it to stay in a high-torque range. I can't tell you how many "professional" drivers I blew away with a tiny Ford Escort by simple gear management while big V8s were struggling going up the eastern slopes of Colorado winter or summer.

If you don't know how to drive, people, get off the road!

Its unfortunate that this wasnt spoken about more. Sergio WANTED Chrysler. In case you're all not aware... the Chrysler 300 is a hugely desired vehicle in a lot of European countries. The Jeep lineup is one of the most respected brands in the world. Sergio looked at the big picture and said "Damn... Chrysler hasnt built a really bad product in about ten years, I want some of that." We as Americans are so stubborn and refuse to admit when a brand is doing well. I'll never understand why so many Americans want nothing but to see other Americans fail.

"When it comes to net profit, Chrysler Group made 652 million euros and Fiat lost 273 million euros."

Chrysler makes the calls a lot more than Fiat does.

Read more:

Chrysler has enough confidence in its 2013 Ram 1500 and resurgent pickup truck sales that it is considering the addition of a third shift at its Warren Truck Plant.

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