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Tested: Oz market RHD ASV RAM 2500


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Trade Trucks.com.au  /  May 28, 2016

The ASV RAM barged onto the Australian market in late 2015. The Mopar pick-up doesn’t seem to make as much of a bling statement as it’s Ford and GM competitors, however, the styling certainly isn’t lacking any visual impact.

In fact, the origins of the Ram’s face go back to the recommendations of a French Medical Anthropologist that Chrysler employed to find out what evoked a tough, macho image. Apparently reptilian and snake-like works; go figure. 

While the Ram is still often referred to as a Dodge, Fiat Chrysler has dropped Dodge in favour of Ram as the badge for all its commercial offerings in the US.

The recently launched ASV RAM is the result of a joint venture between Ateco Automotive and Melbourne-based Walkinshaw Automotive Group called American Special Vehicles (ASV).

ASV has launched the 2500 and 3500 models here in Australia. Our comparison test vehicle was the lighter duty 2500.

The conversion process was developed with the blessing of FCA head office in the States.

A right hook steering box from the factory supplier is used and new dash panels are manufactured locally. The trucks are essentially remanufactured on the Clayton assembly line.

The Ram uses 6 cylinders for motorvation in the form of a 6.7-litre SCR Cummins turbo-diesel. This donk makes 375hp and 1,084Nm of torque, which feeds into a 6-speed auto.

The 2500 will also tow 6,989kg, and carry 913kg.

Interior

Anyone familiar with the Jeep product will feel right at home inside the RAM. It feels the most like a factory vehicle out of the three.

Smattering of woodgrain paneling highlights a subdued but well-appointed interior. A touch screen provides access to the Uconnect infotainment system.  And as you’d expect the rear seats are roomy and accommodating

It’s probably a no-brainer but this truck has a reverse camera fitted as standard, a must for a vehicle this size. And it makes hooking up a heavy trailer a breeze!

The footwell conversion would have to be the best one that I’ve seen. The driver’s footrest has even been moved to the right hand side. It looks like a factory job. As a result, legroom is the best of the bunch.

The jarring note however is the parking brake pedal. All of these trucks have a foot operated parking brake.

However, the Ram’s parking brake pedal hinges on the right hand side of the footwell, above the accelerator pedal. So if you have your foot on the brake, you have to switch feet and use your right foot to engage it. Either that or put it in park first.

No doubt the reason it's there is because that side of the footwell has enough structural integrity to handle the pedal. But a rummage around in the Jeep/Fiat Chrysler parts bin would surely find a push-button electric park brake available, which I reckon would be a much better solution.

Drive time

The Ram is also a good thing to drive on the open road.  It feels nimble in a way that belies its size and bulk.

This truck uses a coil-sprung rear end, which you may think would make it a bit softer than leaf springs yet the rear end was surprisingly

The Cummins 6 has a great spread of usable torque.  It’s no V8 beast but I didn’t find myself wishing it had more grunt loaded or empty.

The 6 is a little grumblier than the V8s which does make it sound a little more commercial.

The stiff suspension didn’t help the Ram off-road. It made it up the hill climb but it struggled to get power to the ground as it was prone to lifting its legs into the air, even though it does come with tru-lock differentials as standard kit.

The 68RFE automatic though was a great unit and an intuitive shifter.

Though given the size and price of this truck I doubt many will be beating through the bush in them.

With the trailer on behind it, the Ram’s bum didn’t actually get much closer to the ground. It tended to stand up and haul rather than squat and pull.

Performance was more than adequate when climbing as the Cummins seems to have quite a low torque curve.

The exhaust brake and gear box tow mode worked well together, in fact the Cummins exhaust brake sounds a lot like a baby Jacobs engine brake. The reality is that with a load on, it sat on the road beautifully and felt planted.

The Ram drives and feels like it’s a factory truck.

Final details

Vehicles are supplied to ASV direct from the factory, which gives the company a big price advantage over other pick-up converters who have to source through a dealer.

The middleman has effectively been removed.

The ASV Ram 2500 has a list price of AU$139,500 (US$101,045) and is being sold through a national dealer network, often a part of an existing Fiat Chrysler dealership.

The Ram also comes with a 3-year, 100,000km warranty and 24-hour roadside assist for that period.

Related reading - http://www.bigmacktrucks.com/topic/42735-dodge-trucks-sell-out-before-australian-arrival/#comment-312049.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Paul and Tim

Build a bigger garage!!!! Actually have so much "stuff" in the garage mine does not fit..

Have gone from Single, to club, to full crew cab over the past 20 years207131341.JPG.. So much more comfortable when you take friends to shows and haul the grocerys home!!


 

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Brocky

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  • 2 months later...

RAM Trucks: Big is better Downunder

Driven New Zealand  /  October 19, 2016

The core vehicle was interrupted as less as possible

When Ateco decided to import the famous RAM large pickup trucks into Australasia it decided it was better to go big, so, rather than convert the utes, it has set up a factory to remanufacture the products.

Ateco approached parent company Fiat Chrysler USA in 2013 with the idea of importing the left-hand-drive RAM trucks Downunder.

Ateco set up American Special Vehicles (ASV) in collaboration with Melbourne company Walkinshaw, which has been involved with HSV manufacturing for 30 years.

Two truck models, the 2500 and 3500, are imported directly from RAM’s Mexico factory to the ASV plant, with Australia the first country outside North America where the trucks are officially exported to.

The new right-hand-drive trucks must meet the Australian full volume compliance rules, that all car manufacturers have to meet to sell volume cars in Australia.

The versions are powered by a 6.7-litre turbo-diesel engine, boasting 1084Nm of torque, and are equipped with the Laramie trim and equipment package.

The RAM 2500 has a towing capacity of up to 6989kg and a payload of 913kg; the RAM 3500 has a towing capacity of 6170kg and a payload of 1713kg.

The RAM 2500 Laramie is priced from $163,000 plus on-road costs and the RAM 3500 Laramie from $169,500. RAM trucks are backed by a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assistance.

The RAMs have six-speed automatic transmission, which includes driver-adaptive shifting and three multiple clutch packs, dual filters on a dual stage pump and an independent lubrication cooler that delivers pressures under all loads and driving conditions.

RAM trucks are also big on safety and security and have advanced, multi-stage front airbags, front and rear seat curtain airbags, electronic stability control, rear park assist and rear view camera, an eye-level brake light with cargo camera, a tyre pressure monitoring system and remote keyless entry.

Standard equipment in the cabin includes heated and ventilated front leather seats, a 12V power outlet, a 240V 100 amp mains power socket, adjustable foot pedals, a sunroof, and nine-speaker audio system with a subwoofer.

The dash has the same infotainment system as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and there are two rear cameras, one for the cargo area and another for reversing.

The RAM trucks went on sale in Australia in November and officially launched in New Zealand at Fieldays, with 13 dealers from Whangarei to Dunedin.

So far 15 RAM trucks have sold in New Zealand and 200 in Australia. Ninety per cent of the products registered are the 2500.
With Australian car manufacturing in decline — Ford’s factory has just shut and Holden and Toyota are to follow — ASV is now that country’s third largest vehicle manufacturer.

While the decline of Australian manufacturing is detrimental, ASV was able to use former staff, suppliers and equipment from subsidiaries.

Situated in an old Nissan car factory next door to the HSV plant, the 6,000 square meter area has been re-engineered to cope with more than 1200 RAMs a year, but works on two a day at present.

ASV’s joint chief operating officer, John DiBerardino, said the core vehicle was “interrupted as less as possible”.

“Where it’s visually important, we have spent the money — but where it’s not, then it’s not worth the investment.”

There are three production lines, two working on the chassis. Once the trucks arrive, the cabs are separated from the rolling chassis, fluids are drained, the firewall is changed over, and components are either flipped or re-fitted.

The 2500 and 3500 RAMs have 400 unique parts, from ties to steering boxes, headlights and mirrors.

The company had to create a new dash, costing A$1.3 million to design, and used the Socobell group that produced the Camry dash for Toyota Australia.

While two lines work on the chassis, the third line assembles the cabin, including that new Australia-made dash, and swapping over the two front seats.

A noticeable change to the cabin is the driver footwell that was too small in the left-hand-drive passenger mode because of the rounded design of the firewall, rather than a narrow middle console, that intruded into the space. So ASV streamlined the area, creating enough space for the pedals.

Another ASV special was having the steering arms tested through 100,000 cycles with three-tonnes of force (equivalent to 20 years driving, says the company).

The cabin and chassis are then reunited and taken for a test around the grounds of the factory, checking especially for any electronic faults.
DiBerardino said so far no major faults have been found during the test.

“We’ve just had to tweak wheel alignment, it’s important that from the start the electronics are correct so we don’t have to pull the dash apart.”

In Australia the 3500 is recognised as a truck, so must stop at every weigh station and has a 90km/h speed limit on freeways. But Ateco has already found a market for this model, with the New South Wales police force replacing six utes with two 3500s, that have room for six passengers in the cabin and can tow an eight-horse trailer.

Queensland emergency services has purchased six to tow trailers with equipment while the 2500 has found favour with Australia’s “grey nomad” customers who tour around the country with large caravans.

Horse owners are also expected to favour the 2500, in Australia and New Zealand.

What will be interesting is the prospective market for RAM’s right-hand-drive vehicles. There’s the potential to sell in India, South Africa, the UK and even Afghanistan.

There will also be interest from RAM USA on the RHD project; not just how well its products are re-manufactured but also how a couple of touches, such as the front passenger footwell, have improved the products.

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Does the roadside assistance include bringing you lunch because you can't afford to go to McDonald's?😁 Seriously that's a lot of Lb ft for a pickup! But those new Dodge Cummins are increasingly electronic,so in a year or two we will see about reliability!

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4 hours ago, other dog said:

Nice trucks, for sure- but it just doesn't seem right that you can buy a house and a few acres of land cheaper than you can buy a pickup truck, and in a lot of places you can do just that.

mate you wouldnt buy a house and a few acres in Australia for that in most places but I gotta agree thats a lot of money for a ute , a lot more than I would spend at this stage in my life 

 

Paul

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15 hours ago, mrsmackpaul said:

mate you wouldnt buy a house and a few acres in Australia for that in most places but I gotta agree thats a lot of money for a ute , a lot more than I would spend at this stage in my life 

 

Paul

I paid $28,500 for this place, its a single wide modular home on about 3/4 acre, but it's a nice place- all I need anyway. Every time I get my tax bill it's appraised at over twice that much, so I don't know whether to be happy that I got a helluva deal, or to be pissed off that i'm getting screwed by the tax man!

 

Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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4 hours ago, other dog said:

I paid $28,500 for this place, its a single wide modular home on about 3/4 acre, but it's a nice place- all I need anyway. Every time I get my tax bill it's appraised at over twice that much, so I don't know whether to be happy that I got a helluva deal, or to be pissed off that i'm getting screwed by the tax man!

 

I doubt you would buy any land at all in Australia for that let alone a land and house 

Land out here is a crazy price considering we have so much and so few people 

 

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