Plans for the fall launch of the all-new '02 Dodge Ram fullsize pickup are “like nothing this company has ever done before,” says Gary Dilts, senior vice president-sales for DaimlerChrysler Corp.
“Everyone will be involved” from DCC President Dieter Zetsche to dealers and the United Auto Workers, says Mr. Dilts. “All will be immersed in this truck.”
Mr. Zetsche confirms he is “personally involved” in the launch, driving competitive vehicles and monitoring the buildout of the old truck. “We're looking for that perfect mix of new and old (inventory).”
DCC will build 250,000 new Rams annually “and we think the market will take all we can build,” says Mr. Dilts. The '02 Ram sports an even-bolder grille treatment — if you can believe that — and swoopier fender sheet-metal wrapping an all-new independent front suspension and the choice of a 3.7L V-6 or 4.7L V-8 (both SOHC units) or the hoary 5.9L OHV V-8, which makes only 5 hp more than the 4.7L engine.
There's also a pared-down bodystyle selection: regular-cab or 4-door Quad Cab and that's it. Best new feature, though, may be Ram's carlike rack-and-pinion steering.