RAM Trucks has opened 14 Ram Truck Centers in the US and has plans to add as many as 30 more in 2016, according to Rudy Albrecht, Ram commercial brand manager.
“These truck centers mean more upfit opportunities in truck-focused markets,” Albrecht said. “Our truck centers will be working with local upfitters to provide their customers with ready-to-work upfits and equipment.”
The first center in Florida opened on September 29 at Daytona International Auto Mall in Daytona Beach. The 36,000-square-foot facility has 40 employees who have undergone extensive training to become “Ram-certified” experts, and features service and parts departments, along with about 1000 new trucks and 200 used trucks.
Those new truck centers will be handling some new products from Ram. Mike Hawarny, Ram chassis cab product planner, provided a version of Ram’s video series on seven different issues:
• 2017 ProMaster wide rear axle.
He said upfitters are requesting higher payload, easier upfitting, and a more robust wheelhouse appearance on chassis cabs and cut-away body models.
“A higher payload is needed for vocations using 136-inch wheelbase chassis cabs and cutaways,” he said. “A greater clearance between the frame and rear wheel provides easier body installation. The industry frame-to-tire clearance is 4.5 to 9.5 inches, the current ProMaster frame-to-tire clearance is 1.9 inches, and the proposed ProMaster clearance is 5.75 inches. A wider rear axle track is standard on all chassis cab and cutaways. Wheels closer to the outer body surface create a more robust appearance.”
• Chassis Cab Special Emissions Package.
It’s new for 2016MY and affects chassis cab trucks with the Emergency Vehicle Prep Package and Cummins diesel engine. It’s for approved fleets and approved emergency vehicle upfitters only and conforms to federal requirements for emergency vehicles. OBD monitoring and reporting still occur and vehicle de-rate strategies are removed.
• Truck high rail.
It was introduced in 2015MY and allows heavy-duty 2500 (DJ)/chassis cab 3500 (DD/DF) trucks to be upfitted for high rail applications. It’s available with either 5.7L or 6.4L Hemi with automatic transmissions and is validated to FMVSS 126 requirements in trucks with 10K (4536 kg) GVWR and under.
• Heavy-duty truck box-off option.
Packaged with programmable auxiliary switches (sales code LHL), it provides wiring improvements both underhood and at chassis rear and allows for ease of upfit to LED tail lamps by simply grounding a wire underhood.
• Chassis cab truck dual fuel tank.
Now available on diesel 60” CA, it has a 74-gallon capacity and sales code NLL. Current vehicle electrical and fuel management systems do not permit removal of either tank in dual-tank systems.
• Chassis cab truck 6.4L AC T-fittings.
Packaged With Ambulance Prep Package (sales code AH2) or Special Emissions Package (AH6), it allows for ease of installation of auxiliary AC systems. Control of remote AC operation is handled via VSIM.
• ProMaster AC fittings.
Packaged with sales code HDG, diesel lines are in green and gas lines are in yellow, and it’s included with Ambulance Prep Packages AH2, AH6, or AH7.
• Truck aux switch programmability.
If affects both heavy-duty and chassis cab trucks with auxiliary switches (sales code LHL). The aux switches can be programed for battery or ignition fed, last known state, and momentary/latching. Programing is done in the EVIC in the instrument cluster, outputs are found under the truck’s hood, and mating terminals are shipped loose in the upfitter bag.
• Chassis cab loose ship parktronics.
It’s loose ship for chassis cab only. A bagged kit has sensors, wiring, and mounting instructions. Installation information and product details are available in the body builders’ guide. It must be spec’d at the time of vehicle order and cannot be added later.
• Chassis cab rear camera & rear park sense.
It affects chassis cab trucks ordered with both rear park assist and rear camera. The gender of connectors prevents incorrect upfit.
• Truck rear parktronics disable.
It allows disabling of parktronics back-up sensor system and eliminates a warning chime at each key cycle. It must be done by the dealer, is not covered under warranty, and can be re-enabled by the dealer.
• Truck High Amperage Power Point (HAPP).
It is available on gas/diesel with alternators above 180A and will be introduced as a running change in 2016MY. Ground to engine block is recommended. The ground wire should be high-flex “welder’s cable.”
• Truck underhood upfitter wires.
The underhood upfitters wires have been moved from the previous difficult-to-access left fender area to this new location. To access these wires, you simply release and rotate the PDC upward and these wires will be immediately visible.
• Truck LED light conversion.
All 2016 HD box-off and dual rear wheel chassis cabs come from the factory with bulb-out detect disabled. Single rear wheel chassis cabs are shipped with the feature enabled. For all other trucks and model years there are options: on the rear bulb-out detection defeat, circuit #W509 (WT/BR on the green VISM harness) when grounded turns off the rear bulb out detection; and on the under-hood wire circuit (LG/WT underhood upfitter wires), it also need not be sequenced during LED applications.
• ProMaster rear camera.
New for 2016, it’s available with UConnect 5.0 (RA2) audio head units only. The option can be selected at the time of vehicle order or added later.
Ram will carry forward two mid-year 2015 offerings into the 2016 model year: the Ram 1500 Rebel off-road package and Ram 1500 Laramie Limited super-luxury trim.
Where three-quarter and one-ton pickups are concerned, the 2016 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty models feature a new fuel delivery calculation and turbo boost calibration for the optional Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 diesel engine.
Jointly developed by Ram and Cummins engineers, those new tweaks help produce an additional 35 lb-ft of torque—boosting the 6.7-liter diesel’s torque output from 865 lb-ft to 900 lb-ft. That’s allowed Ram to beef up the towing capacity of the 2016 Ram 3500 to 31,210 lbs.
Other new tweaks to the 2016 Ram HD models include a five-link coil suspension with optional air suspension on Ram 2500 and a supplemental air bag suspension option on Ram 3500.
A new feature for 2016 Ram ProMaster vans is side window availability for its 159-inch, high-roof extended configuration, along with a second battery option at the rear of the cab and new 20-amp auxiliary switches easily accessible on the dash panel.
The 2016 Ram ProMaster City compact van, introduced last year, will officially replace the Ram C/V as the OEM’s Class 1 van offering, and is Ram’s second shared collaboration with Fiat Professional., with the ProMaster full-size van being the first.
Ram will continue growing the reach of its new Ram Commercial division, integrating an expanding network of 950 Ram and FCA BusinessLink dealers that are focused on the needs of commercial customers while helping offsetting commercial upfitting expenses via its “On The Job” incentive/discount packages.
The “On The Job” program provides commercial/small business owners a variety of incentives and discounts to assist them in purchasing, servicing and customizing vehicles. Custom upfitting allowances, service contracts, Mopar certificates and cash allowances are just a few of the “stackable” incentives Ram said business owners can use at any of FCA’s total of 2600 dealerships in the U.S. ♦