The head of’s Ram brand wants to increase production, a move that could include adding a third shift to its Warren, MI, pickup-truck plant.
During a teleconference with reporters, Ram President and CEO Fred Diaz says demand for pickups is strong enough to warrant raising output, and thedivision is seriously exploring adding more workers at the Detroit-area plant where the Ram 1500 light-duty pickup is built.
“We’re looking at all of our options regarding shifting and production,” he says, noting that a plan has yet to be presented to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Sometimes it’s a good problem to have when your demand for the product is more than what you can produce.”
WardsAuto data shows Ram gaining ground in the light-duty pickup market and capturing market share from competitors. Sales of the Ram 1500 totaled 237,236 units in 2011, trailing theF-Series with 552,647 and the Chevrolet Silverado with 415,130.
“We’ve started producing the new 2013 Ram truck,” Diaz says of the 1500, which is refreshed for the ’13 model year. “We are not having any problems or any issues. Our inventory is in a perfect position right now with Ram trucks.”
Chrysler recently announced it will expand the Ram brand’s commercial and heavy-duty offerings with a newly created Ram Commercial subdivision. The auto maker is looking to add employees, but Diaz declines to reveal specific numbers.
Chrysler’s dealer network is a key to Ram Commercial’s launch. “We have a good, strong 600 dealers that are called our ‘business link’ dealers,” Diaz says. “They have heavy lifts and hoists to be able to work on our heavy trucks.”
Adding dealerships is a possibility, Diaz says, but adds: “We’re very selective (in) that we don’t run into any issues with customer satisfaction. We’re looking for the best dealers.”