With production of 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs underway at Chrysler LLC’s assembly plant in Saltillo, Mexico and these new trucks now arriving in dealerships, the OEM recently took some of the latest models in its medium-duty lineup on the road. Fleet Equipment caught up with the media tour and had an opportunity to get a close-up look at a 5500 model fitted with a Reading dump body.
Charlie Chung, the brand manager, Ram Chassis Cab at Dodge, who was on hand for the event, wasted no time in explaining some the vehicle’s unique and innovative features. All models are “Job-rated,” he explained, meaning they are designed, engineered, tested and built to meet the rigid standards of commercial truck buyers.
“With a commercial-grade 50,000-PSI steel frame,” Chung noted, “the 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs maximize strength and reduce weight. The flat, clean frame rails help facilitate ease of aftermarket upfits or retrofits. It’s all about maximizing uptime.
“We also have a great brake system story to tell with the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 models,” Chung continued. “These trucks are equipped with the segment’s largest front brake rotors (390 mm) and brake caliper pistons (66 mm). Our engineering data indicates that this will mean significantly less brake wear. Currently, we’re having that data evaluated by an independent third party to validate our conclusions.”
The 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs are available in Class 4 and 5 models in a gross vehicle weight range of 14,001 to 19,500 lbs. Offerings include four wheelbases of 144-, 168-, 192- and 204-in. and cab-axle lengths of 60-, 82-, 105- and 120-in., regular cab and Quad Cab configurations, two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, and three trim lines. Standard is a Cummins 6.7-L turbodiesel and an Aisin automatic transmission. A Mercedes Benz six-speed manual gearbox can be ordered as an option.
The Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs join the manufacturer’s Dodge Ram Mega Cab, Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 models, and Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab to round out the OEM’s Class 3-5 lineup. All of the trucks are built in Saltillo, one of five Chrysler production facilities in Mexico. The plant, which recently underwent a $48 million, 120,000 square-ft. expansion, employs Chrysler’s Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS) that allows it to easily accommodate new frame configurations.
Dodge is also backing its medium-duty offerings with Dodge BusinessLink. Launched in 1999 and offering no-cost enrollment, the full-service program is comprised of a select network of dealers who know and understand the unique vehicle needs of small businesses, fleet managers and other commercial vehicle customers.
BusinessLink dealers offer dedicated commercial account managers and sales teams, dealer inventories representing a higher mix of work truck and other commercial vehicles, next-bay service and technicians, extended hours to minimize downtime and free loaner vehicles in many locations. Other benefits include Dodge’s “On The Job” program, which offers discounts on upfits and direct cash incentives and savings on almost all of the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle models.
Fully in the commercial vehicle business, Dodge is presenting fleets with new medium-duty truck options to consider and the support services to back them up.