Four years ago, for the 2015 model year, the Dodge Ram made a change. No longer would it be called the Dodge Ram, we were told by parent company FCA, but instead it would be a stand-alone brand called simply “Ram.” The flagship truck would be the “Ram 1500.” There would be no more Dodge Ram going forward.
Pretty much every car journalist I know has stuck to this convention at FCA’s request, calling the truck the “Ram 1500” and wondering if there would be further models to support what’s ultimately a new brand. There have been a few — all commercial vans, specifically the Ram ProMaster and the smaller Ram ProMaster City — but no other trucks have arrived, leaving the Ram 1500 (and heavy-duty versions) to sit alone as the flagship and only trucks in the Ram world.
But while Chrysler has made a point to continue this naming convention, and journalists have gone with it, one group hasn’t been so convinced: the general public. I speak to people who have purchased the latest Ram 1500, and they call it a Dodge Ram. This, even though they actually bought the truck, went to the dealer, test-drove it and signed the papers — none of which said “Dodge” — and brought it home.
Back in May 2018, a few Ram 1500 trucks were stolen from the plant that builds them, and news coverage of the theft almost exclusively called the vehicles “stolen Dodge Rams” rather than “stolen Ram 1500s” — even though the “Dodge Ram” name hasn’t been used in years. I don’t blame the local reporters for this, as it seems you basically have to be an automotive expert to know things have changed — especially considering these trucks are still sold at the Dodge dealer, right along with the Charger and the Challenger.
Which makes me wonder if maybe it’s time to switch back. The Dodge Ram had a lot of name recognition, and it doesn’t appear the Ram brand is going to be taking on any new models, after four years of relative quiet. Meanwhile, if anything, the Ram brand has detracted from frequent use of the “Dodge” name in articles about the truck, which has stripped away some of the name recognition of the Dodge brand — a brand which, let’s be honest, could really use some name recognition right about now.
It seems to me that the whole idea of switching to “Ram 1500” was an odd one, and it never really caught on — and it might be time to switch back.