Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ram Expands Full Lineup to Australia


Just in case you haven't noticed, the Ram brand is growing these days and not just in the U.S. The next major conquest for the Ram Nation could be Australia.

Two announcements highlight this growth: First, a new import agreement was reached to dramatically increase the number of trucks coming into Australia. Second, SCD American Vehicles, a low-volume
Australian converter, has announced it will begin importing the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Both of these announcements will help grow Ram's sales and put pressure on rival truckmakers.

While the EcoDiesel half-ton will be new for Australia, Ram heavy-duty models have been around for years thanks to the outfitters like SCD. Still, Australia is about to get many more of them due to the new import and conversion program.

The deal, constructed by Fiat Chrysler New Zealand, allows the limitless import of these trucks thanks to the new "Full Volume" Australian Design Rules compliance. Essentially, the deal allows Fiat Chrysler New Zealand to import as many trucks as it can sell.

The Australian auto market already features a variety of U.S. full-size trucks thanks to import and conversion operations. You can find Ford F-Series, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra models there.

Fiat Chrysler New Zealand says it plans to offer Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks in September after they have been converted by a yet-to-be-announced Australian firm. The current deal with Fiat Chrysler New Zealand does not call for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel; that truck will only be available through low-volume importers like SCD.

When Ram announced it was going to offer a small diesel in a half-ton, most of the focus was on American consumers and whether there was demand for it. However, others knew there would be global demand for half-ton turbo-diesels. So starting in September the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will go Down Under along with the Ram HDs.

SCD American Vehicles will import and convert the Ram EcoDiesel, which will be sold through Dodge Trucks. SCD has been converting Ram 2500s and 3500s for almost 10 years and boasts more than 300 truck conversions.

Eddie Kocwa, director of Dodge Trucks, said the EcoDiesel is really what got Australians interested in the 1500. They see it as a way to address a need in the marketplace.

"With the 1500 size truck, the demand is very high," Kocwa said. "Currently, Australian-delivered trucks are not big enough to tow most caravans and fifth-wheelers. We also believe the tradesman will find these Rams very practical for work vehicles."

These converted trucks won't be cheap though. Kocwa said a regular-cab Ram 1500 costs around $82,000 in Australian dollars (roughly $64,500 U.S.), and prices will go up from there depending on configuration. He also said the most popular models will likely be the top-of-the-line Laramie Limited crew cabs.

Australians can also import a truck on their own and have it shipped from a U.S. dealer. Once it arrives, SCD offers a conversion and compliance package for $39,000 Australian.
In the end, importing and converting Ram pickups is a pretty expensive endeavor. But Kocwa believes the contraction of the Australian automotive industry in the past few years combined with growth in the use of recreational trailers means there is plenty of opportunity for full-size trucks to flourish.
SCD American Vehicles images


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