<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Dodge Shows 2003 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy-Duty Pickups
Dodge Ram
All-New 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Debut asToughest and Most Powerful Heavy-Duty Pickups Ever

2003 RamChicago - Feb 6, 2002 - The all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty debuts as the most powerful heavy-duty pickup, with the most powerful diesel engine on the market and the all-new 5.7-liter HEMI® Magnum V-8. The Dodge Ram Heavy Duty carries forward its reputation for toughness into a new century with class-leading towing (Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating), payload capacity and interior room. New from grille-to-tailgate, the Heavy Duty Dodge Rams bring an array of new powerplants, class-leading features and the "big rig" styling introduced on the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500.

"The heavy-duty pickup market has grown 34 percent since 1996 with 2500/3500 pickups accounting for 31 percent of the large pickup market," said Jim Julow, Vice President, Dodge Division Global Brand Center. "Ram 2500s and 3500s now account for a third of overall Ram sales, and with the 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, we are poised to increase those numbers significantly."

Put Up or Shut Up
2003 Ram"In this market, capability is everything and the new Heavy Duty Dodge Rams are the most capable pickup trucks available," said Frank Klegon, Vice President, Truck Product Team. "We have taken the bold styling of the all-new 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, with its class-leading interior package, and added all-new, class-leading powertrains and a new chassis featuring a full-length hydroformed heavy-duty frame."

For 2003, the all-new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty is aiming at the heart of the heavy-duty market with two new engine offerings and, for the first time on a Ram, a 3500 single rear wheel option.

"Our 1500 Ram buyers are looking for a multi-use truck, but they rarely come close to its performance limits," added Julow. "Dodge Ram Heavy Duty owners are different. They also want a multi-use truck, but buy their Dodge Ram Heavy Duty with very specific tasks in mind. And those tasks require maximum capability. "They routinely push their Rams to the limit," Julow said. "That is why about 75 percent of our Ram 2500/3500 sales are diesels and 70 percent are four-wheel drive models. These trucks are being used, and used hard. Our reputation as the longest-lasting pickup, and now the most powerful diesel pickup available, will serve us well in this market."

With the new 2003 Ram 2500 and 3500, Dodge designed a truck aimed at the heart of the heavy-duty market. Dodge created a new duty cycle aimed directly at commercial customers, testing the new Ram in conditions ranging from -40 F to + 130 F and running the equivalent of 150,000 miles at 95 percent of their maximum towing and payload ratings.

Dodge Ram and HEMI Magnum = Class-leading Power and Performance
2003 RamThe all-new 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 herald the return of one of the most legendary names in automotive lore: HEMI. This is the Chrysler Group's first application of the new 5.7-liter HEMI – which for the Dodge Ram will be called HEMI Magnum, and will serve as the standard engine on the all-new Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks. This all-new engine produces an estimated 345 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 365 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm, providing more power than competitive standard V-8 engines. In fact, versus competitive vehicles with similar size gasoline engines, it provides best-in-class acceleration and towing capability, as well as significantly improved fuel efficiency over the engine it replaces.

Redesigned Cummins Turbo Diesel = Class-leading Capability
Another returning legend is the all-new, high-pressure, common-rail injection, High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. The new High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel is the most powerful turbo diesel engine available in the 2500/3500 segment, producing 305 horsepower at 2,900 rpm and 555 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. That prodigious torque results in a class-leading towing capability of 23,000 lbs. (GCWR).

As durable as it is powerful, the Cummins Turbo Diesel has average major overhaul intervals of 350,000 miles, providing a substantial advantage over the competition. An inline six, the new 5.9-liter Cummins has 30 to 40 percent fewer parts than typical V-8 diesels, which means added durability and better reliability.

Tough Enough To Wear the Ram Heavy Duty Name
2003 Ram"Building on the advances we made in safety, ride and handling on the all-new Dodge Ram 1500, we were able to create a heavy-duty truck with precise steering and a comfortable ride without compromising its work ethic," Klegon said. "We were able to do this because Ram has an extensively hydroformed frame; one of the stiffest ever on a pickup truck. That chassis stiffness provides a firm foundation for suspension and NVH fine tuning."

Assisting steering and handling on two-wheel drive Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks is a new rack and pinion steering system that delivers precise feel and response tuned to give the driver control and positive feedback. On four-wheel drive Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups, an all-new recirculating ball system improves on-center steering feel through lower internal friction and responds more precisely. In fact, the four-wheel-drive Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup has the quickest steering ratio in the industry. The 13.4:1 ratio and 2.75 turns lock-to-lock are especially effective in a heavy-duty truck when making tight turns, or maneuvering a trailer in close quarters.

Dodge Ram Heavy Duty: Designed to be Tough On- and Off-Road
With the majority of Heavy Duty Rams being ordered with four-wheel drive, the Dodge Ram's off-road performance is a key selling point.

Two new transfer cases, a conventional manual shift and a new electric shift, are available on 2500 and 3500 four-wheel drive models to provide quieter operation, and improve quality. The manual-shift unit is standard on ST and SLT models. The electric-shift unit is standard on SLT Plus models.

The four-wheel drive front axle is all-new, but retains beam construction. All-new rear axles contribute to a best-in-class payload rating (GVWR) of up to 12,000 lbs. The refined four-wheel drive system on the all-new 2500/3500 Dodge Ram pickup provides an outstanding combination of ride, handling and off-road operating characteristics.

Front suspension on four-wheel-drive 2500 and 3500 Dodge Ram Pickups is a refined version of the five-link, coil-spring suspension with beam axle used on the previous series Dodge Ram Heavy Duty. A link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are standard. The rear suspension, common to both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models, is equipped with new, three-inch longer leaf springs.

Dodge Rams Set New Safety Standards for the Heavy-Duty Truck Market
2003 RamJust as the 1994 Dodge Rams redefined pickup safety with the first driver-side air bags, Ram 2500 and 3500 lead the way for 2003 with the first heavy-duty pickup application of side curtain air bags. Dodge Ram Heavy Duty also offers the first power adjustable pedals (on both automatic and manual transmission equipped trucks), and the first pre-tensioning, constant-force seat belt retractors in a heavy-duty pickup truck.

Designed with a holistic safety approach, Dodge Ram Heavy Duty utilizes both conventional safety features, such as air bags, and combines them with accident avoidance features such as excellent steering, handling and braking. Standard ABS, the largest brakes in its class and 17-inch wheels and tires—the largest standard wheels and tires on a heavy-duty pickup—all contribute to Dodge Ram's excellent safety capability.

Also standard on Dodge Ram Heavy Duty are next-generation driver and front-passenger air bags. The passenger side air bag can be turned off on regular cab Rams to accommodate child seats. The 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty trucks also include a standard Lower Anchors and Tether for Children (LATCH) child seat anchorage system. The LATCH system works in conjunction with the standard child seat tether anchors to create safer child seat attachments.

Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Safety Highlights:
• First heavy-duty pickup to offer side curtain air bags
• First heavy-duty pickup to offer pre-tensioning, constant force seatbelt retractors
• First heavy-duty pickup to offer power adjustable pedals (available on both manual and automatic transmissions)
• Largest standard brakes in its class
• Standard ABS
• Largest-in-class standard wheels and tires
• Standard child seat tethers
• Standard rear seat center shoulder belt (Quad Cab) and front center shoulder belt (Standard Cab)

2003 RamDesign: Big, Bold and Powerful Enough to be a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty
With the most visually recognizable DNA of any pickup, a strong business case was made to combine the styling of the all-new 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 with the new heavy-duty chassis of the Ram 2500 and 3500. From the beginning of the Ram 1500 design process, engineers were already taking into account the extra capacities and development needs of the heavy-duty series of Rams. The Ram 1500's grille, for example, was designed to be large enough to incorporate the extra cooling needs necessitated by the heavy-duty Ram powertrains.

"Despite our competition's need to toughen the look of their heavy-duty pickups, we didn't feel it was necessary to stray from the bold Ram design to provide a more masculine look for the 2500 and 3500," said Rick Aneiros, Vice President of Design and Ram Design Team Leader. "The massive horse collar grille is bigger and bolder, and still the most recognizable Dodge Ram feature. This truck makes the type of statement a heavy-duty truck needs to make. It says Ram."

The all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty will begin production in the summer of 2002 at the Saltillo, Mexico and St. Louis North Assembly Plants.