Ram Draws a Bead on Silverado With 2019 Pickup

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The third best-selling vehicle in the United States last year was the Ram pickup from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU). And it fell short of second place by only about 30,000 units.

A redesigned Ram pickup makes its debut Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

With a new F-150 diesel and midsize Ranger due from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) early next year, as well as a redesigned Chevy Silverado due at the same time from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), FCA is countering with an all-new Ram that is expected to reach dealer showrooms in the first half of this year. That gives the new Ram at least a six-month head start on its competitors in the full-size pickup market.

In 2017, Ford F-Series sales came in at 896,764 units, a 9.3% increase over the 2016 total. Silverado sales rose 1.9% to 585,864 units, and sales of FCA’s Ram pickups rose 2% to 556,790 units.

The new Ram pickup is nine inches longer as well as taller and wider than the current model. Despite that FCA’s engineers managed to shave 225 pounds off the vehicle’s total weight. The 2019 Chevy Silverado lost 450 pounds by using aluminum sheet metal instead of steel in the truck’s hood, doors and tailgate. The 2015 Ford F-150 was more than 700 pounds lighter than its all-steel predecessor.

The cabin on the new Ram is four inches longer than on the previous model and allows second-row seats to recline up to 8 degrees, according to Automotive News.

The truck includes a number of efficiency improvements as well: a belt-drive generator and 48-volt battery are now standard, as are short-term torque assist and regenerative braking. Fuel economy data is not available yet, nor has Ram indicated whether the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be an option on the 2019 pickup.

Production is set to begin this month while the 2018 model will also be continued for at least a year. Pricing for the 2019 Ram pickup has not been announced yet.