Five Minutes With Ram Truck's Reid Bigland

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To say Reid Bigland is a busy man fails to fully communicate how much he can accomplish in a day. He currently holds three significant titles: head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Corp.; chairman, president and CEO of Chrysler Canada; and president and CEO of Ram Trucks. Bigland started his management career with heavy truck companies like Western Star and Freightliner, but he's right at home talking Jeep and Dodge sales as easily as he is ruminating on the future of the pickup truck market. We had a few minutes to sit down with Bigland and talk about Ram trucks.

Sales Across All Brands Are Up

"This is the 100th anniversary for Dodge, and Chrysler Group sales are up 15 percent so far this year where the rest of the industry is up 8 percent. November will likely be our 44th consecutive month-over-month sales improvement where Ram brand is up 25 percent. … Dodge is up 38 percent … and for all practical purposes [Jeep] is flat, but that's impressive since we stopped producing our midsize SUV [the Liberty] in August 2012. And now we just started shipping the all-new Jeep Cherokee last month, so look for Jeep brand to post some big numbers coming."

Why Ram Isn't in the Midsize Segment

"Obviously we had the Dakota, and Ford, the Ranger, but those trucks have always been a fraction of the half-ton segment. … We've kicked around the idea for years of a lifestyle pickup truck, but although the vision of that style of pickup may be sound … the more we incrementally improve our half-ton, the more difficult the business case [is] for a small pickup. That truck would have to get realistically around 30 mpg and have a price point in the high teens. If not, I think we're going to miss that market and customer … why would you buy something that's less capable?"

Platform Sharing

"For us [when looking at something in that midsize pickup segment], we would have to find some existing platform if we were going to get into that … a car platform or crossover platform because of the economics, without using something that already exists, would be even more challenging than they already are. But the dimensions of that pickup would have to be quite a bit different … it would still have to do some amount of work hauling wood chips and other work. But that's difficult to make happen … achieving all the fuel economy, safety and other federal regulations is tough."

New Dakota?

"I look at the Ranger — that must have been a $13,000 truck — and there was a pickup that had 50 percent share at one time, and they couldn't figure out how to make it work. … Part of the problem is that we've done such great things squeezing efficiencies into the half-tons, with the new Pentastar, eight-speed trans, EcoDiesel, and it gets harder to make the numbers work. If 23 mpg and a base price of $22,000 can work, I'll take another look. … We say 'never say never', but there's nothing imminent, that's for sure."

Luxury Full-Size Market

"There's a fine line between having a classy truck and having a gaudy truck, and we want to continue give buyers the creature comforts they value but not put in frivolous or things they don't value. We want to be smart about the content we put inside our trucks … having expensive options is fine, but they have to provide value. … I really like the All Secure feature, with one touch it locks down the doors, tailgate and RamBox."

Ram's Biggest Challenge

"With so much product coming to market over the last few years, our biggest challenge is getting the word out on how good the new Ram 2500 pickup now is with the new big gas Hemi and coil-link springs. … Part of the trouble is that when you only have a 30-second ad … I need longer commercials to list all the improvements. It's rare that the same brand has the best fuel economy, best power, best payload and best towing of any pickup; it's hard to focus on just one truck."

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I am impressed with the new 2500. I thought when Fred Diaz left Ram their surge was over but it sounds like Reid Bigland was a great choice to move on forward!

I think there is a market for a new Dakota ... even if it's on the Grand Cherokee platform. They have existing 4-cylinder (TigerShark) and 6-cylinder (Pentastar) engines that would work well. Probably going to see how well-received the new Colorado is.

@Old GM guy - I agree, I felt the same way when Fred Diaz left. I thought it was going to be the end of Ram, but it has proven to be very different. Way to go, Reid! Keep up the good work.
I hope they come into the small commercial truck segment (6500, 7500). He has a background in semi manufacturers like Freightliner and Western Star and Fiat has existing resources that could be made use of with a Ram truck...just...make sure it isn't ugly like the promaster. I am sure it is a great van but it is hard to get over the gopping looks of it.

I like the Ram but I'm 6'8" and while I can drive its defiantly the most cramped truck of all the full size's. My knees are to the dash and on top of it they made the center console and door armrest cut right into each leg. And I know they make it without the consold but not the sport and I like a center console but why so wide? I like it but not worth being uncomfortable for ten years.

Mr Bigland is right on. I'm brand-neutral in terms of loyalty but definitely see value in RAM pickups. If they keep sprinkling in improvements every couple years they will very likely continue to increase sales. Not much new ground (in the near future) for RAM trucks in the way of powertrain development, but gas DFI would certainly add to their appeal.

Bigland on a midsizer:

"but there's nothing imminent, that's for SURE."

See I told you so. Nothing for SURE.

"why would you buy something that's less capable?"

Exactly. Why go 93% of the full-size when you just buy the full-size?

when you CAN just buy the full-size?


Both Ford and Ram get it. 90-97% the width, the length and height of a full-size is NOT the way to go. The truck must be MUCH smaller, much less expensive and 30-40 mpg.




"If 23 mpg and a base price of $22,000 can work, I'll take another look. … We say 'never say never', but there's nothing imminent, that's for sure."

sounds like they have already looked into it. but like i said in the last article, the new wrangler is due out in 2015 as a 2016. that chassis would be chrysler's best option for a "ram 500/ram wrangler". it is going to allow the 8 speed the vm motori and the latest electronics. the thing reid needs to get in his head is that people will pay for a wrangler truck just for the looks and off road capability. a wrangler truck with the 8 speed a 3.6 pentastar or a vm motori 3.0 would be a great start. i don't see a 2.4 tigershark having the oomph people want (i know the colorado has a 2.5) so maybe the 3.0 I4 from the promaster would make a good base engine. that would make it a unique vehicle with a base motor as a diesel. a new minivan is due in 2015 as a 2016 and you have the promaster and promaster city, i just don't know about van chassis though unless it is gonna be another "cherokee" if you know what i mean (i know about the cherokee trailhawk but it is still limited to a certain extent). there is also the grand cherokee/durango chassis but from what i hear the new e-evo chassis that is to replace full size cars and minivans will eventually replace the mercedes derived grand cherokee/durango. if they keep it around a little longer and come out the with the (grand) wagoneer, then it could make profit/sense. we will just have to wait and see, but i can tell you chrysler has something up their sleeves if that market takes off. imo, the only way to really make a small (in america) pickup truck to work is to make all trucks crew cabs (no regular cab full size and what is the point of extended cabs especially with front hinged doors?) and have the smallest truck a crew cab small (in america, midsized universal) truck. the only way midsize works in the us is if it is the smallest and the only way regular cab works is for sport truck or industrial purposes. again, just my opinion, and i don't want regular cabs to go away but in america it seems the only way for these global trucks to make sense. i do think extend cabs need to go as a ram/gm truck is 4 door regardless so why have the short cramped one? how many extended cab cars besides the saturn ion do you see? regular cab full sizers would have to take a price hike too so midsizers could fit in just as gm has done making a $28,000 (roughly) base price for a k2xx truck. in other words the best bargin, a reg cab short bed 2wd v8 truck that used to be closer to $20,000 will eventully be about $30,000.

Physical size alone would be why some people would buy something "less capable". They're the people who don't need a 'heavy duty' truck, but rather one that can carry things that simply won't fit into a crossover or SUV. A cubic half-yard of wood chips aren't as heavy as a similar-sized load of stone. Wood chips are great for landscaping where stone is typically used for building driveways. DIYers tend to landscape, not build driveways.

Bigland or predesessor Diaz can claim credit for Ram's success but one must remember that car companies work with long term plans. They have some room to move if "plan A" doesn't work but change isn't immediate.

Bigland's comment " why would you buy something that's less capable?" is typical salesman crap.
Every time I have EVER walked onto a dealership lot, a salesman uses a similar line when I ask to look at a base or mid-level trim pickup. They want to upsell. The "plathorndenial" is only 100 dollars a month more (for the next 96 payments).

A small truck would meet the needs of a vast majority of personal use buyers BUT guys don't want to risk looking less manyly in their "small" truck and just in case they might need to tow 30K, they will go out and buy the biggest and baddest.

I started truck ownership many years ago with GM trucks. Soon I moved to Ford, mainly because they were better trucks. Didn't even consider Dodge/Ram. But this last time I drove all three majors and kept coming back to the Dodge Ram 3500 Megacab for towing our large fifthwheel and, as fulltime rv'ers, our only transportation. We bought a new Ram 3500 Megacab diesel in 2007 and it now has 106,000 outstanding miles on it. With nothing more than normal fluid changes, tires, one new set of brake pads, and a couple of recalls to replace emission senders. The truck still drives, looks, and feels like a new one. Someday I'd love to have one of those 2014 Rams but it's very difficult to justify trading a perfectly good truck. I'm not saying Ford and GM are not good trucks. I'm just saying this Ram has been the best truck I've owned and I admit to owning and driving pickups since 1974.






I worry that the 6.7 ISB lacks fuel economy competitiveness with the V8 rivals. I hope it can continue to work, I really like that engine. Should be using 8-10 speeds in the HDs and offer the 5.0 ISV as an option. Of course if really Ford is testing a Cummins ISB 6.7 hydraulic hybrid in the F-750, this should also be viable in a Ram!

He hit the nail on the head when it comes to mid-size trucks. Take the Tacoma for example, 18 mpg highway (4x4 4-door)? That's what my friends and relatives are getting. Same price as a full-size? No thanks. Only advantage over a full-size is they may be easier to park, and fit in and out of tight spaces off road (but that's what Jeeps and ATVs are for anyway).

Bigland and many of you guys like Dave and Douggy get it. The full-size trucks in 2014 will be getting 28 to 30 mpg so a midsize that gets the same mileage is no deal.

@Lou_BC: I am inclined to disagree with your generalization on the reasons for people not buying midsizers.....the "manliness" argument is fairly minor in influence compared to the driver's feel and load requirements. For example, my father could care less what he looks like and he is not motivated by the need to look manly. The reason he will not drive anything smaller than a 1500/150 is because he cannot feel comfortable lower down and when he takes the kids out for the day, he likes to have room. We are not small people, as 6'2, but still, I do think that manliness has less to do with it than job requirements and driver comfort. Even my mom won't drive one because she hates not being able to see ahead of her so she has to be reasonably high up. I don't know, I could be wrong, but seriously I think that manliness is only a small fraction of the issue with midsizers.

Would love to see a RAM 1500 with the larger of the two optional crew cabs combined with the existing 6'4" (or a Ford 6'6" bed), but with a smaller front end so it can fit in my garage. The engine compartment SIZE is of no utility, so designing it specifically for V6's would make a truck full size capable but with mid size length. Then introduce a bigger than 4.0L V6 for those who want to pull the entire earth and I believe you'd have a full size capable truck that is mid sized.

Is it 5PM yet? I'm ready to get out of this office.

Ram has come a long way and I wish them every success , but I will hold off buying one untill I am confident about Rams reliability.


Or, you could save the rest of us a lot of trouble and either

A. park your truck outside like I do
B. build a bigger damn garage

Any six cylinder engine much bigger than 4 litres (gas engine) will be hard to certify for EPA emissions.

The big six cylinder engines from the 1960s were hard to modify for lower emissions and Detroit killed 'em off. The last to go was the old Ford 4.9 litre six they used in F150s and half ton vans back when. Neither strong, nor clean burning.

Mine got rotten mileage and wouldn't pull the hat off yer head.

i currently own a 96 ram 2500 with a cummins, and i plan on keeping it. but i'm seriously considering the 2015 colorado with the the 4 cyl diesel. i don't need a full size pickup, and i don't want to feed a full size pickup. give me 7k towing and 30+ hwy mpg. sorry ram but colorado is probably my next pickup.

Bigland gave a politcal response to the lack of a midsizer. It was a non answer. The future pickup market is outside of the US with midsizers.

Ram could have a globally competitive midsizer that could be as good as the Ranger/BT50 and Amarok.

All they have to do is use the Dodge Rampage concept and place it on a full frame ladder chassis and use the VM 3 litre diesel and the 2.8 VM diesel.

Fix up the awful looking rake at the rear of the cab. offer it as a cab chassis, dual, king cab, etc.

It would be one of the nicest looking trucks around. But they have to build a good product. Not with the recalls and problems that Chrysler are reknown.

They can call it a Dodge as well, since outside of the US Dodge has better marketing power than Ram. Ram is meaningless outside of the NA aquarium.

The could sell millions.

I don't buy the "manliness" argument either-- it boils down to bang for the buck for most buyers. Although, there are a few of them out there--the guys on forums that say, "hey guys, I got tired of the MPGs on my 6" lift 37" tires _____ pickup and bought a BMW." What?! That dude's lifestyle did not require a pickup at all--he just wanted "big". Which is dumb but fine; unlike others, the US is still a free country.

I would like a crew cab midsizer if it had a large bed AND big power. But they typically don't. And when they come close, they can cost MORE than a full size half ton that has room, bed space, and power in spades with little difference in MPG.

I'm waiting on the new Colorado diesel.Not because it will be cheaper (which it will be....somewhat) but much easier access for me.I'm disabled and the fullsize is almost impossible for me to utilize/access the bed.My last Colorado was,for me,the perfect size.Too bad it was a complete fresh steaming pos.

@Big Al--The Dodge Rampage is a good concept with a full frame under it. The Ram name was created to separate the trucks from Dodge cars, possibly future plans Dodge might be dropped as a brand but who knows for sure. To me the Dodge name is a more credible name for the truck, but then that is Chrysler's marketing department. As for Mr Bigland, what else is he going to say to answer the question of a midsize entry, Ram doesn't have one and they are not planning on one. That is Chrysler's choice as it is Ford's and no one has to buy their products. I am happy to see the Colorado/Canyon come and that would be my choice if it were out now, but if there were an updated Tacoma or Frontier I would consider those as well. I don't have to own any particular brand. I have owned them all and I have no brand allegiance.

@Jeff S
What I like about the Rampage is it doesn't have a pretend big rig (or little man) grille on the front.

I think US pickups would be much more attractive if they didn't try to make them so animated.

As for the Frontier and Taco, they should be out soonish. It appears there is a midsize 'battle' on your doorsteps soon. With CAFE I hope it forces diesel midsizers to become more prevalent.

I hope taxes/tariffs/barriers and FTAs can allow for some other midsize entrants into the US. Maybe and hopefully the Canadians' can lead in this front with their FTA with Europe. Imagine a 410ftlb Frontier.

Maybe there is a hole for a decent midsizer after all.

@Big Al--The midsize is just the perfect size for most suburbanites. If someone wants or needs bigger that is their choice--whatever makes them happy. Over the past few years I have developed back problems--disintegrating discs (from my last physical with my lower disc compressed against my lower back). I can still climb on ladders but I am more limited as to reaching up and to climbing in the back bed of the truck. A lower bed works much better for me than a high bed. Most of today's full size trucks have too high of a bed for me to reach in (even 2 wheel drive full size) unless I get a ladder to climb in the back. I realize that Ford has the man step and GM has the step in the bumper but I would rather not have to use those or even a ladder because I am a little less stable on my feet. I like to sit a little higher than a conventional car but I don't want to sit up too high. Actually my wife's CRV is easy for me to get in and out of and very easy to reach in the hatch. A few years ago the higher bed would have not mattered but now it does. As May West said "Growing old ain't for sissies."

@Yessir, Dav - I was being sarcastic. Many do not buy based on appearance but the whole "just in case I need it, so bigger is better" is a "manly" case of overkill for most people.
Truck manufacturers have shot themselves in the foot or more likely ass with their tow ratings and never ending use of magic spring dust. Any truck guy tends to go overkill with towing or hauling. They intuitively do not believe tow ratings. Guys who want to tow what a small truck are rated for (6,000 average) will go with a 1/2 ton. Same for 10-11K loads. Those guys tend to buy 3/4 tons or 1 tons. it is rare for me to see any pickup with a max rated tow load.
If one applies that same logic to a small truck with a 6,000 lb rating, most guys won't hook up anything heavier than 3-4K.

You guys are all a waste of the environment and space. I am sick of you people driving your gas guzzling trucks around and wasting gas and polluting the environment. At least I am responsible and drive a Prius. I am helping the environment, you guys are harming it.

He did not mention all the recalls for the Ram pickup and why the quality is so bad. I guess it something he wants to forget about their quality problems.







About 5 minutes is all I can take from a RAM guy as well!

"I look at the Ranger — that must have been a $13,000 truck — and there was a pickup that had 50 percent share at one time, and they couldn't figure out how to make it work. … Part of the problem is that we've done such great things squeezing efficiencies into the half-tons, with the new Pentastar, eight-speed trans, EcoDiesel, and it gets harder to make the numbers work. If 23 mpg and a base price of $22,000 can work, I'll take another look. … We say 'never say never', but there's nothing imminent, that's for sure."

They figured how to make it work you F$#K'n moron...they just wanted to make more money with the F150...why do anything for the consumer!

@Responsibility matters, how are your lead-acid batteries helping the environment? Also, your ugly Prius does not intake carbon and output oxygen, it still outputs carbon monoxide. Anyway by definition, diesels are not GAS guzzlers! Your Prius is more of a gas guzzler than a diesel engine!


You took the bait... No I don't drive a Prius or like them, yes I like trucks and yes I am a troll. I posted that earlier as an experiment to see how many people would react to an outlandish statement, luckily you were the only one.

lol, what can you haul in a Prius? Honestly, there is quite a place for a Prius, but it isn't for moving stuff thats big. Can it haul a trailer? Can it even help you move a piece of furniture? Would you throw the deer that you just shot in the back of that Prius, to take it home? Oh wait, you might think we shouldn't eat meat, let alone deer.

To be honest, my stepma has a Prius, and a 99 Ram 1500 with a 5.9, one for getting around, one for hauling big stuff, like horses, a travel trailer, hay...which I don't guess you move much.

I had a quadcab 07 Dakota, 54" bed, too short to even put a screen door in. I get so tired of the stupid "just put a trailer behind it" argument, or the " just rent a truck"

@Responsibility, Ahhh, you got me there! :)

Have you seen this?

as for the macho statement so folks think we want to make with a full sizer, you are a bit off. I bought a quadcab 4x4 1500 hemi cause I needed the SPACE, and when not needed, yeah, I drove a dented up 96 Camry 4 cylinder, with wheel covers, so I guess your off on your stereotype of who drives a full size truck.

Yeah, I actually looked at a Frontier to save gas, while I had the Dakota 4x4 with the HO 4.7. I couldn't imagine something smaller. Although a manual transmission would be a nice option.

Oh, for the record, I have a garage, too small for anything but maybe a Frontier double cab, so that didn't influence me at all. buy the druck you need, and if it fits in the garage..well that's ok, but sure isn't a determining factor.

So tell me how many of those itty bit bed Ford Explorer Sport tracks you see?

Yes I have seen that. That lady is ridiculous.

@Alex, lol, I seen that before, but it's well worth rewatching!

@TRX 4 Tom - thanks for clarifying for the millionth time why you purchased your truck ;)

Lou BC
I real reason I bought my truck cause my step bro had a truck.

Then my ma and pa wanted me to move some of their stuff around back in 97 from the shed out yonder to the porch.

Well, the tire on the wheelbarra was flat and 'had no ways of movin stuff around with it. So, my ma and I went down to the local Ram yard and I like the size of the Ram. Not like dem iddy biddy midsizers from those Asian companies.

It had a 361hp engine which gave me 1/2 a horse more than the Ford. This made up for the 5mpg more fuel I use.

It also had a 3.2398765 diff ratio which is better than the 3.2398764 on the Chev. But the tyres made the biggest difference. Ram had those low rollin resistance 120series 12" on 27" rims. That made it easier for me to tow my big a@@ trailer with those 36 hub caps around.

I constantly drive from over there to here all the time with a cylinder head from my Allpar Charger in the back.

Well, you can see now why I luv my Ram.

Gawd, I really want my Ram. The best thing since Thomas Edison invented that light bulb thing using a banna peel. Maybees even betterer.

"With so much product coming to market over the last few years, our biggest challenge is getting the word out on how good the new Ram 2500 pickup now is with the new big gas Hemi and coil-link springs…"

It will be interesting to see how well the 6.4l does in the HD market. I think if it can make decent torque while maintaining relatively low rpms it will be a winner for towing. Back in the day they had me driving a Chevy 3500 with the 8.1l big block, and I always loved the way it was able to maintain low rpms when towing with ample power, what I didn't love about it was the fuel economy. Seems like I was always at the gas station.

I think the 6.4 will be filling a market niche that has gone unfilled. Lets face it, no one buys the GM 6.0l or Ford 6.2l with the expectation that it's going to provide excellent towing performance. They buy those motors because they're cheaper than the diesel. The 6.4 hemi is approaching the size of the old big blocks so I think it will be a much more suitable alternative to the diesel for those who can't afford it.


I agree with what you are saying, but other pickup owners feed this as well. I have been ridiculed by some for recommending that folks buy a half ton and beef up the springs and tires--this is for occassional/recreational heavy use. The GVW police will come in, say I am crazy (cause payload ratings are sacrosanct) and tell the buyer that they better buy a dually (or something waayyyy overkill) just to be "safe."

@Hemi Monster, it's only 200cc more than the Ford engine. Perhaps Ram should have made it a 7.2L (440 Hemi) with direct injection? A 440 Hemi Challenger SRT8 would also work.

Getting reprehended by the GVW police here is much better than getting pulled over by the CHP or whoever you have in your state. Believe me, they will pull people over who are over weight. There is nothing wrong with being safe and having too much truck. That is definitely the case with my truck, it is way overkill for what I pull.

One situation that could happen is some idiot driver cuts in front of you and slams on the brakes. Obviously you can't stop as fast towing. If your truck is within the legal weigh limits for its rating, then the fault will remain solely with the driver who cut you off. If it turns out your truck is over weight, they could hold you partially at fault or even worse, solely at fault. I would take a truck that's overkill for the job any day. I like the peace of mind knowing that I am under my trucks GVWR.

@HEMI MONSTER - The 6.4 isn't a big block. 6.4 is 390cc . 390.55 if you want to split hairs but the 6.4 isn't quite 6400 cc either. The bore and stock yields a displacement of 6417 CC's. Bore (103.9 mm (4.09 in.) Stoke (94.6 mm (3.72 in.)

There always is a lot of confusion as to what constitutes a "big block" engine. The cubic inches or displacement seems to be an often referenced specification but it isn't an accurate descriptor. Some say 400ci is the cut off with anything larger being a big block but that is completely inaccurate.(for any brand)
Most consider engines with larger deck heights, wider bore spacing's, and thicker castings as "big blocks".

I googled what Chrysler considered big blocks and simplest list that popped up was as follows:
Big block V8[edit]

Chrysler's big-block V8s fall into the following families:
1958–1978 Chrysler B engine (350/361/383/400)
1959–1978 Chrysler RB engine (383/413/426W/440)
1964–1971 Chrysler Hemi engine (426, sometimes called the 2G or Gen 2 Hemi to distinguish from earlier and later Hemi engines.[2]

The 383 cu in (6.3 L) RB block was only available in 1959–1960 on the U.S. built Chrysler Windsor and Saratoga.

Chrysler small blocks are as follows:
Small block V8[edit]

Chrysler's small-block V8 engines all derive from the classic A engine:
A small-block - Chrysler's first small-block V8.
1964½–1992 LA small-block - An evolution of the 1955 Plymouth A engine, using wedge-shaped instead of the prior polyspherical combustion chambers.
1992–2003 Magnum small-block - The original LA design was almost totally revised for 1992, the 318 cu in (5.2 L), and in 1993 the 360 cu in (5.9 L); with the only carry-over parts being the crankshaft and connecting rods. The only A/LA/Magnum-derived engine design currently in production is the Viper V10. (273/318/340/360)
PowerTech - Chrysler's 4.7 L V8 for the Jeep
Chrysler Hemi engine - The modern Hemi, introduced in 2002, produced in three displacements. Called the 3G or Gen 3 Hemi to distinguish from earlier Hemi engines.[2] 5.7 L Hemi - The smallest modern Hemi, introduced in 2002.
6.1 L Hemi - A larger modern Hemi, 2004–2010.
6.4 L Hemi - A larger bore modern Hemi, introduced in 2011

All of the current "hemi" engines: 5.7, 6.1, 6.4 are small blocks despite the increases in displacement.

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