US: Ram trucks lift Chrysler’s earnings image

The full-size pickup truck segment is hotter than ever – Ford’s aluminum intensive F-150 is ready to hit dealerships and the Chrysler Ram brand is making innards into a larger than ever marketshare that also bolsters its parent’s accounting books.

The Ram truck brand has become a major contributor to the earnings reports for the Chrysler Group – now a part of the recently merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – even though it’s still No. 3 on the list of full-size truck sales. But the brand is a very active player in the segment and Bob Hegbloom, the new chief of the division, said that the recent Consumer Reports annual quality survey proved to be a major surprise and disappointment. The influential magazine placed all the brands in the Chrysler group – including Ram – at the bottom of the ranking.

The truck brand is watching closely the moves of its rivals – both Ford and GM have interesting novelties for the end of the year. GM is releasing into the wild its redesigned midsized trucks, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon – but Hegbloom says they’re not actually supporting their case, with the trucks returning less than 30 miles per gallon. Ford is launching a lighter F-150, but the Ram executive says the model was already overweight and the drop only brings a slim advantage (around 300 pounds) over the Ram 1500 offering.