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Ram targets V8 ute buyers with 1500

Lucky number 8: The Ram 1500 is the only pick-up on sale in Australia offered with a petrol V8 engine.

Commodore and Falcon ute owners targeted by Ram’s new 1500 light-duty truck

3 Sep 2018

RAM Trucks Australia is targeting Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon ute buyers with its 1500 dual-cab light-duty truck that is the only vehicle of its kind offered Down Under with a V8 petrol engine.


Since the demise of the locally manufactured Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, no pick-up has been offered in Australia with a petrol V8, but that has now changed with the launch of the 1500, which packs a 291kW/556Nm 5.7-litre Hemi bent-eight under its bonnet.


Speaking to GoAuto at the first drive of the new 1500, Ram Trucks Australia general manager Alex Stewart said the brand “absolutely” thinks previous V8 ute owners will be attracted to the 1500.


“They would have to be attracted to it,” he said. “The vehicle itself provides a huge amount of versatility, probably more capability than they had with the previous V8 products being Holden and Ford, so I think the buyers there or the people who had those vehicles are definitely potential customers for the Ram 1500.”


The Ram’s engine size and outputs are similar to the Aussie-built utes, such as the 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre LS3 engine in the VFII Commodore, and the XR8 Falcon Ute that was powered by a 290kW/520Nm 5.4-litre V8 before it was discontinued in 2010 due to tightening emissions regulations.


Mr Stewart said the petrol powerplant offered a number of advantages over the diesel engines that currently dominate the Australian pick-up market.


“I think the V8 is targeting a particular segment and customer who’s got the aspirations for that V8,” he said.


“The petrol versus the diesel – you could say it’s more family friendly … it’s hard to say the advantages of the petrol versus the diesel, it’s a whole aspect of economy, emissions, user friendliness, it’s a whole raft of stuff.


“But because it’s the V8, I think it’s really the point of difference the vehicle makes. To bring it to market with a four cylinder, that would not be the same offering. Four cylinder, even six cylinder, it had to be the V8.”


While the Ram shares a similar powerplant with the old Falcon and Commodore, the new American contender is otherwise markedly different to the local heroes.


The Ram measures 5817mm long, 1917mm high (for the Laramie) and has a kerb weight of 2650kg. It comes with four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, is built on a ladder-frame chassis with a four-door body style, and can tow up to 4500kg depending on which axle ratio is chosen.


Meanwhile, the Commodore and Falcon were built on a monocoque chassis with a single-cab layout, featured rear-wheel drive and the choice of manual or automatic transmissions, and a maximum towing capacity of 1600kg (Commodore) and 2300kg (Falcon).


The Ram 1500 range will be broadened by the addition of a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel version early next year, which is expected to output slightly less than 200kW/600Nm.


Ram hopes to sell roughly 2100 examples of the 1500 in 2019, increasing to 4500 by 2020.

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