Does Continuing the Ram Classic Prove Ram 1500 Is Flawed?

Ram announced yesterday that its Classic pickup truck will continue production at least through 2021. Seeing as how it debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show that means it has soldiered on for at least 13 years. Meanwhile, its replacement, the 1500, debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. So it’s been competing with its former self for three years so far. Since there is obviously a market for the previous generation of Ram pickup does continuing the Ram Classic prove the Ram 1500 is flawed?

Ram says that the continuation of the previous Ram 1500 as the Ram Classic fills a gap. Ram doesn’t have a Chevy Colorado or Ford Ranger and is also missing a 1500 single-cab body. With new Ram 1500 production occurring in an entirely new factory Ram didn’t have to retool the Warren Truck plant. 

Why would anyone want a previous model over an all-new version? 

2019 Ram 1500 Classic | FCA
2019 Ram 1500 Classic | FCA

So, with a plant and assembly line in place and not threatened with a changeover teardown it’s free to continue Ram Classic production. And so it is. It’s a unique situation for Ram and gives it flexibility. But, why would anyone want a previous model over an all-new version? 

Ram 1500 has a list price of around $33,000 while the base price for a Ram Classic is around $27,000. So there is a $5,000 to $6,000 difference. And, as previously mentioned, Classic has a single cab that typically is used for commercial-only applications. This begs the question, “Why doesn’t Ram make a stripper that narrows the price gap, and why doesn’t it tool up a 1500 single cab?”

Not developing a single cab until later in its production gives Fiat Chrysler extra capital for other vehicles. It has prioritized that over doing a single cab. There is also a question of how popular a single cab will be? Most customers favor double- or crew-cab models. So there is a question of really needing one in its lineup. 

We would think offering a base Ram 1500 at $27,000 would be doable

2016 RAM 1500 truck is on display at the 108th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Ram 1500 | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Why Ram Sells Both the New 1500 and the Ram Classic

Why Ram doesn’t just make a stripped 1500 with a low price we can’t answer. The 1500 has a lot of trim levels available that take it farther away from a budget truck the further up the ladder you go. A loaded two-wheel-drive 1500 will set you back $47,000. At that price, you could buy two base Classic trucks. But we would think that offering up a base 1500 at $27,000 would be doable. 

Originally, Ram Classic production was to last until 2020 when plans called for redoing the Warren Truck plant for assembly of Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer vehicles. Sales have been so strong that Fiat Chrysler decided to continue Ram Classic production while simultaneously building the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer together. To make room for building fifth-generation 2023 heavy-duty trucks Ram will stop making the Classic sometime in 2022 according to Moparinsiders.

The 1500 offers more tech and safety features than the Classic. It also features the best interior in pickups period. So there are things you miss by choosing a Classic over a 1500. If your priority is tapping into the newer technology then Ram 1500 is a better way to go.