‘Baby’ Ram con­firmed for New Zealand

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB MAETZIG

Amer­i­can pickup brand Ram Trucks is set to in­crease its pres­ence in New Zealand’s buoy­ant ute mar­ket with the launch of amodel that will com­pete against top-end one­tonne utes.

The ve­hi­cle is the Ram 1500, the so-called ‘‘baby’’ Ram that is smaller than the full-scale Ram 3500 and 2500 pick­ups.

An­nounc­ing that the Ram 1500 will be sold in New Zealand from the mid­dle of the year, im­porter and dis­trib­u­tor Ateco Group said the model will be a for­mi­da­ble com­peti­tor that will de­liver best-in-class tow­ing, power, cab size and cargo space.

‘‘The 2500 and 3500 in­tro­duced Ram to New Zealand – the 1500 will take Ram to a whole new level,’’ said David Smither­man, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Ateco Group in New Zealand.

Powered by a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 en­gine, the North Amer­i­can­built Ram 1500 will ar­rive in Aus­tralia as a left-hand drive ve­hi­cle and ‘‘re­man­u­fac­tured’’ to right hand drive at a pur­pose­built fa­cil­ity in Mel­bourne.

The Ram 3500 and 2500 mod­els are al­ready cre­ated this way. The chas­sis and body are first sep­a­rated be­fore a re-en­gi­neered RHD-spe­cific steer­ing sys­tem is fit­ted, then a new dash­board de­signed, de­vel­oped and pro­duced in Aus­tralia is in­stalled along with a RHDspe­cific heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, be­fore the body and the chas­sis are re-mar­ried to pro­duce the fi­nal prod­uct.

The work is so sub­stan­tial that it re­quires pro­duc­tion line lev­els of qual­ity, fit and fin­ish, which means it is of­fi­cially classed as a re­man­u­fac­tured

The Ram 1500, due for New Zealand launch mid-year.

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