Yes you read it right. Dodge Rams will be available new and RHD in New Zealand (and Australia) from the 3rd quarter of this year. For me, this was the most surprising press release to get this year, by far. Don’t get me wrong; call me Richard Hammond, but I just love the Ram. Sure it’s huge (and no, I’m not compensating for anything) but there is just something about them. But – and I say this regretfully – New Zealand has just so many utes for sale. The Ram does have a big point of difference – its size and towing capability – but the price may be a deciding factor.
Currently no prices are being stated, it’s just too early. But the hook is baited and if you want to hang on to the 3rd quarter (mooted as September), all will be revealed.
Interestingly, the photos supplied with the press release are the 2500 and 3500 models – not the ‘baby’ 1500 model as I expected. Not only that, but one of the press release pics is of the 3500 dual-wheel model. That is a wide beast. Will it be coming here? The photo suggests so, but then they are of LHD Rams. The dually is not for the faint hearted, that is for sure. On the other hand, how much weight can you put on the back of a dual-wheel Ram? Plenty…
Apparently Fiat Chrysler New Zealand is undertaking the actual conversion, and then will be sending them to Australia. Good work FCNZ, a nice little side business if the Australian market takes off. All Rams will meet ADR requirements, and Clyde Campbell (who setup FCNZ two years ago) says that the Ram, “…is as close to an official factory right hand drive vehicle as it can be without it having actually run down the factory production line.”
It’s interesting to me that September is set as the launch date – just in time to shout yourself a new Christmas toy?
Disclaimer: In 2007 as a family we bought a new Dodge Ram Laramie 2500 in Texas, and spent three months towing around a 34-foot 5th wheel RV, covering 25,000km and loving every KM (mile?) of it. The Ram performed faultlessly and towed our 6-ton RV without any issues. We then shipped both the Ram and 5th wheel back to New Zealand. Torque from the 5.9l Cummins direct injected, common rail, turbo diesel was phenomenal. It didn’t just pull tree stumps – trees fell over before we got to them. Okay I’m exaggerating, but boy can those trucks pull. We bought the Ram for US$28k, and then had more costs in the shipping, customs, insurance, GST when it landed. Then, being a heavy vehicle, we were forced to convert it to RHD…another $28k thanks. You can see why RHD American trucks cost what they do in New Zealand.
One thing that is for certain: AutoClique will be asking for a test unit as soon as they are available. Watch this space.