‘Baby’ Ram confirmed for New Zealand
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.