Rinspeed Design, the Swiss design and engineering company known primarily for souping-up German performance and luxury vehicles, has teamed with the Mopar parts division of the DaimlerChrysler Group and Stellar Industries Inc. to launch the X-Tra-Lift loading system for pickup trucks.

The X-Tra-Lift debuted at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. exposition in Las Vegas late last month, enhancing DC's all-new 2002 Dodge Ram pickup.

The X-Tra-Lift is an auxiliary loading system with a 1,000-lb. (454-kg) lifting capacity. It fits inside the existing pickup box and is designed to be practically unnoticeable once in place. The makers say the X-Tra-Lift is targeted at pickup owners who need a lifting apparatus for loading and unloading heavy stuff, whether it's toys like personal watercraft or motorcycles, or that new double-wide fridge from Best Buy.

Rinspeed cites a market study conducted by J.D. Power & Associates indicating a yearly potential of almost 150,000 units for a back-saver like X-Tra-Lift.