RAM TRUCKS PREPARES FOR ROUND THE CLOCK AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION TO MEET DEMAND.
RAM Trucks will be rolling off their Melbourne production line 24 hours a day, five days a week from 1 June 2019 to meet growing demand for the RAM range in Australia and New Zealand and, in particular the RAM 1500 which, with its unique 291 kW V8 engine and towing capacity of up to 4.5 tonnes, has set a new benchmark in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“This is not just great news for RAM, it is also a fantastic achievement for the Australian Automotive industry and shows the world our automotive and engineering industry is open for business,” says Alex Stewart, General Manager of RAM Trucks Australia. “Since we started production we have cut by more than two thirds the time it takes to remanufacture a RAM Truck for our market, we use up to 400 components, the vast majority local produced by Australian companies and, by the time we go to three shift working, we will be employing more than 160 people directly and many more indirectly across the country.”
The RAM Trucks Melbourne Manufacturing Facility, which is based in Clayton South, provides the advanced design and engineering facilities that enable the RAM Trucks to be re-manufactured from left to right hand drive and so that they meet full factory approval. They operate the production lines to produce the vehicles and they provide a comprehensive aftersales parts service to 37 RAM dealers in Australia and 15 dealers in New Zealand.
The new production line is 130 metres long and 21 vehicles are worked on simultaneously, with it taking less than 24 hours for each vehicle to run the length of the production line, down from more than three days when RAM Trucks Australia started RAM remanufacturing in Australia. Each vehicle uses between 350 and 400 new parts in the process, the majority of which are Australian-produced.
Employee numbers on the production line will lift from 110 to more than 160 with the arrival of triple shift working with additional workers already employed and undergoing both classroom and practical hands-on training in preparation for round clock production. In addition, another 20 staff work in design and engineering preparing the next generation of RAM vehicles for Australian production as well as team members in parts supply and administration.
The local companies involved in parts supply for RAM Trucks include Socobell, which produces the all-new dashboard, and Hi-Spec Australia for brake line components, air conditioning lines and high- and low-pressure fluid transfer hoses and tubing. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC and, in particular, the RAM International Team have also provided invaluable support and assistance, as has AusIndustry in it programme to assist companies and staff as other car makers ceased Australian production.
“The entire RAM Trucks project was set up, engineered, designed and developed in Australia by Australian experts, it shows what this country is capable of and how we can produce a world class product,” says Mr Stewart. “In short, it is clearly something of which everyone involved should be extremely proud and which, in the form of the RAM 1500, 2500 and 3500, has provided Australians with a new and unique choice when it comes to vehicle buying.”
Other utes claim performance – The Hemi 291 kW V8 RAM 1500 delivers
Under the bonnet of the RAM 1500 is a legend. The Hemi name comes from its hemispherical combustion chambers which gives an efficient combustion chamber with an excellent surface-to-volume ratio, with minimal heat loss to the head, and allows for two large valves. It was first developed for the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft and M47 Patton battle tank before finding its way under a whole of raft American muscle and motorsport cars.
The latest Hemi continues to power racing cars and muscle cars, as well as the RAM 1500 and matches the timeless Hemi design with the latest technology including a coil-on-plug distributorless ignition system, Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and two spark plugs per cylinder to shorten flame travel leading to more consistent combustion and reduced emissions. It’s also now a smart engine designed to save fuel with a Multi-Displacement System (MDS) which is used in some versions and can shut off two cylinders on each bank under light load to improve fuel economy. The engine bay also features active grille shutters, which only allow the right amount of cool air to enter the engine bay. This means more consistent engine temperatures, faster warm up from cold starts and less aerodynamic drag.
When the active grille shutters are closed, airflow is redirected over and around the front of the truck, enhancing aerodynamic performance rather than creating turbulence in the engine compartment. Engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed determine shutter position. The shutters remain closed when less engine cooling is required, and aerodynamic drag is most significant. The system will open the shutters when the truck’s cooling demands require additional airflow, for example traveling up a hill or pulling a trailer in high-temperature environments.
Behind the wheel of the Hemi power RAM 1500 this translates into effortless performance that, thanks to its eight-speed gearbox, is delivered smoothly and efficiently, all the while accompanied by the emotive V8 burble.
Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial for RAM 1500 trucks that controls the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission that replaces both column and floor shifters. The exclusive rotary e-shift dial enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel, even with gloves on. The convenient, dash-mounted, easy-to-understand and operate system provides total control of the sophisticated eight-speed transmission and is Ram Truck's innovative approach to electronic shifters. This new design allows quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots and crowded worksites. The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.
The Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of a constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding 5 horsepower. Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus. This greatly streamlines manufacturing and maintenance. With EPS, each Ram 1500 model can be specifically calibrated to optimize steering effort and precision regardless of body or powertrain configuration. Additionally, EPS senses constant input from the driver, for example a crown in the road, and compensates for improved comfort.
The RAM 1500 – Built to tow to the max!
The RAM 1500 is, quite simply, built to tow, with a range of features that combine to make it uniquely capable and safe.
Uniquely in this market sector, the RAM 1500 is available with a choice of two axle ratios. In addition to the 3.92 ratio fitted to the Express and RAM 1500 Black Pack as standard, the 1500 Laramie offers the addition choice of 3.21 ratio which makes for a more relaxed driving experience, improved fuel consumption and reduced emissions. It is the ideal choice for the owner who is not planning to take the RAM 1500’s impressive towing capabilities to the maximum.
But this unique feature is just the start of the RAM 1500’s towing features. In addition to the usual swath of electronic safety features, the RAM 1500 adds Trailer Sway Control, Ready Alert Braking and, on the Laramie, trailer brake control.
Trailer Sway Control does what it says – it works to counter one of the most common problems with towing, a trailer weaving behind the tow car. Using sophisticated electronics combined with the RAM 1500’s brakes, it detects and counters a trailer swaying and pulls it back in line behind the RAM 1500, allowing the driver to maintain full control.
Ready Alert Braking has two functions, first if the driver suddenly takes their foot off the accelerator, the brake system pumps up the brakes ready to provide maximum braking performance in the time it takes the driver to move their foot from accelerator to brake pedal. Additionally, in the Laramie, when the automatic rain sensing wipers are activated by rain the Ready Alert Braking system moves the brake pads slightly closer to brake discs so that they sweep any water off their surface to ensure maximum, instant braking ability.
The Laramie also has slider controls on the dashboard for to control the electric brakes on a trailer or caravan. These also bring up a choice of two readouts on the display screen in the instrument cluster to inform the driver exactly what setting the trailer’s brakes are set.
A considerable part of the RAM 1500’s excellent towing ability is built on the foundations of its advanced separate chassis and sophisticated suspension which is mounted on it.
The front rails are 20 per cent stronger thanks to the use of high-strength steel while portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed for both strength and durability. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability and to further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar.
All of this ability provides the RAM 1500 with capability to offer a class leading maximum braked towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes with 70 mm tow ball in the RAM 1500 Express, the RAM 1500 Black Pack and the RAM 1500 Laramie with the 3.92 axle. The maximum gross combination mass is a mighty 7.2 tonnes with the 3.92 axle and a still hefty 6.2 tonnes with the 3.2 axle. Needless to say, a heavy duty tow bar is standard on all RAM 1500 versions, as is a seven pin towing harness plug.
The Ram 1500 uses an exclusive multi-link, coil-spring rear suspension and this innovative rear suspension provides improved ride and handling characteristics with no loss of capability. A coil-spring design centralizes and absorbs bumps and impacts, while reducing the amount of friction in the spring system and it is some 20 kilos lighter than a leaf-spring configuration.
The front independent suspension combines upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling while robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Ram 1500 Truck models. The front rotors measure 13.2 inches (336 mm) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers, while rear rotors are 13.8 inches (352 mm) and utilize single-piston calipers. ABS brakes lead a whole phalanx of electric chassis assistance packages that reduce the chances of road accidents by a significant margin.
The RAM 1500 is the latest in a long line of Pick-up Trucks that have become legends in North America, but it has taken Australian expertise to make the RAM 1500 fully available in Australia. The right-hand drive RAM 1500 has been designed and developed in Australia and refined for Australian requirements. It is built in North America and then remanufactured on a brand-new state of the art production line in Melbourne. This process means production quality and consistency. An Australian market RAM 1500 is built specifically for this market, imported by the factory appointed distributor, remanufactured to right hand drive in Melbourne and then sold through a nationwide dealer network.
The RAM 1500 is backed by a three year/100,000 km warranty with roadside assistance and requires a service every 12 months or 12,000 km.
The RAM 1500 – ready for Australia
“Our aim has always been that, so far as the customer is concerned, buying and owning a RAM, be it the new 1500 or its heavy-duty brother, the 2500 and 3500, should be absolutely no different from buying any other mainstream vehicle,” says Alex Stewart, General Manager of RAM Trucks Australia. “This means everything from production line quality and consistency of product, to a national dealer network, a factory supported warranty, through to back up of a full parts and accessory warehouses in Sydney and Auckland that can deliver parts to anywhere in the country within 24 hours.”
“The RAM 1500 resets the ability, value and style benchmarks for the Australian Ute market,” says Mr Stewart. “The 1500 is now having the same dramatic effect on RAM sales in Australia as it has done in the USA, where the RAM brand has enjoyed eight years of consecutive growth. There can be little doubt that the 1500 is making RAM a significant player in the top end of the Australian Ute market.”
Since its launch as a stand-alone division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2009, the Ram Trucks brand has steadily emerged as an industry leader with one goal: to build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry. Creating a distinct identity for Ram Trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on core customers and features they find valuable.
The brand continues to invest substantially in its hard-working products. In order to be the best, it takes a commitment to innovation, capability, efficiency and durability. Ram Trucks invests substantially in its products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and exclusive features that further enhance their capabilities.
Ateco Group and RAM
The Ateco Group is the sole authorized importer and distributor of RAM Trucks for Australia and New Zealand and remanufactures these trucks for sale in these markets. RAM Trucks are imported directly from the North American factory in left hand drive and then remanufactured to right hand drive on a purpose-built production line in Melbourne. These RAM Trucks are produced with full volume import approval, meaning they are fully compliant with all Australian Design Rules. Ram Trucks are sold and supported by an Australia and New Zealand-wide dealer network.