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Auto Show:  2011 Chicago Auto Show

2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman and Heavy Duty - Chicago Auto Show

February 2011 author photo


February 11, 2011

On the assumption that the U.S. economy is on an uptick, Chrysler’s Ram Truck division took the opportunity to introduce its Ram 1500 Tradesman to what poet Carl Sandburg dubbed the City of the Big Shoulders.

“The Ram Tradesman is named for – and aimed at – the heart of our business,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO – Ram Truck Brand. “This is a hard-working truck for hard-working people. Durability, reliability and value for the money are the top three considerations for our customers. Their truck is the most important tool they own and one they’ll use every day. The Ram Tradesman is a truck they can depend on.”

Shown in a workmanlike white, from the show floor, the Tradesman appears basic – as opposed to appearing stripped. In fact, its equipment level will have product planners In Detroit and Dearborn scratching their collective consciousness; Dodge is offering the Tradesman for under $23K (with destination). And while that would constitute an oh-so-logical price point for a stripped regular cab with V6, the Ram variant comes equipped with a long list of standard features, short and long beds, 4X2 or 4X4 powertrains and a standard (wait for it…) Hemi V8.

The work-related ‘stuff’ includes 160-amp alternator, 17-inch steel wheels (with full-size spare tire), 26-gallon (short bed) or 32-gallon (long bed) fuel tank, bright chrome grille, HD shocks and locking tailgate. In short, it’s ready to go in a choice of wide-ranging colors.

The Tradesman was the main event, but upgrades to Ram Truck’s Heavy Duty lineup also got our attention. The 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel (standard in Ram’s 3500) gets a 23-percent bump in torque (now 800 lb-ft), and is fitted with components allowing for a gross combined weight rating of 30,000 lbs. And beyond the growth in capability is a major overhaul interval of 350,000 miles, and the only heavy duty diesel lineup meeting 2011 EPA compliance rules without needing either Selective Catalytic Reduction of Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Obviously, if you need less, you have less to maintain.

Both Tradesman and Heavy Duty go on sale in the second quarter of 2011. If, as Mr. Sandburg might suggest, you’re a Hog Butcher, Tool Maker or Stacker of Wheat, the folks at Ram will have – within a few short weeks – a truck for you.

DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman and Heavy Duty - Chicago Auto Show - Autotrader