‘Baby’ Ram con­firmed for New Zealand

Taupo Times - - TAUPO¯ GOOD SORT - ROB MAETZIG

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

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

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 bestin-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 Amer­i­can-built Ram 1500 will ar­rive in Aus­tralia as a left­hand drive ve­hi­cle and ‘‘re­man­u­fac­tured’’ to right hand drive at a pur­pose-built 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 which was de­signed, de­vel­oped and pro­duced in Aus­tralia is in­stalled along with a RHDspe­cific heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, be­fore the body and 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 ve­hi­cle, not a con­ver­sion.

‘‘The Ram range is re­man­u­fac­tured to meet New Zealand mar­ket de­mands,’’ said Smither­man.

Full de­tails, pric­ing and spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the 2018 Ram 1500 range for New Zealand will be an­nounced when it goes on sale around the mid­dle of this year.

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

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