Is it still a Dodge Ram? Is it just Ram now? The simple answer? It depends.
Dodge Rams are no longer being manufactured. There are Dodge cars like Challenger, Charger, and Durango. The pickup trucks made by the same company are Ram pickup trucks. But there seems to still be a bit of confusion even 10 years after the official brand split in 2009.
The folks at Autotrader have the entire story on the Dodge brand, it’s vehicles, and what it’s called.
Dodge brand history
Originally the “Dodge Brothers Company,” Dodge is one of the oldest American auto brands.
The company began producing trucks back in 1914. Walter P. Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928. He merged it with his own brand but kept Dodge’s original brand identity.
The company produced trucks, vans, and cars throughout the rest of the century. It sold several popular and successful vehicles including the Lil’Red Express, Power Wagon, and Warlock.
Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler-Benz AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. DaimlerChrysler was the result and it included Dodge in its brand too. The results after the merger were largely mixed.
Chrysler split off to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity company in 2007. It was a beneficial move for Daimler-Benz AG, but not so much for Dodge. The 2008 economic downturn caused Chrysler in 2009 to file for bankruptcy.
Chrysler Group LLC was born out of the bankruptcy after FIAT bought Chrysler’s assets in conjunction with the U.S. Government and the United Auto Workers. Once the loans were repaid and the agreement restructured in 2014, the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles formed and the Dodge brand was under its umbrella.
The “Dodge Ram”
In 1981, Dodge’s full-size light-duty D-series pickup truck was called the Dodge Ram. Dodge for the brand and Ram for the model. At the time there was an SUV called Dodge Ramcharger and a Dodge Ram van. A mid-size pickup truck was added in 1987 and called the Dodge Dakota.
Under the umbrella of FIAT, Chrysler Group LLC, the Dodge brand restructured in 2009. The brand’s cars and minivans kept the Dodge name. The trucks, the Dodge Ram and Dodge Dakota, became Ram trucks. The capitalization of the company name was a marketing tactic that’s not applied consistently, even by the company itself. All caps usually denote an acronym but that’s not the case here.
Ram became its own division within the company with a CEO named Fred Diaz. From the 2010 models forward, the trucks were no longer called Dodge.
Today’s lineup is pretty basic. It features the light-duty Ram 1500 full-size pickup truck along with the heavy-duty full-size pickup trucks, the Ram 2500 and 3500. There’s the Ram Chassis Cab, Promaster heavy-duty van, and the Promaster City light-duty van. The HD trucks and vans are under the commercial subdivision of the company.
Dodge Ram or Ram?
Which is correct? It depends on the year the vehicle was produced. If you mean the vehicles produced since 2010, it would a Ram. If you mean the full-size pickup truck produced from 1981 from 2009, it’s a Dodge Ram.
But it’s all technicalities. Both are part of the same parent company. The names are surely important for marketing purposes. If you called a newer vehicle a Dodge Ram, technically, you’d be wrong. But if you didn’t know the story behind it, most would still get what you meant. So for communication purposes, it’s okay.
If you just call the new vehicles “Ram”, you’ve got it right. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles aren’t likely to mind which name you use as long as you’re considering one for your next truck.