Ram vs Dodge – Is RAM still Dodge? Why did they split?
If you’re a tried-and-true Ram truck owner, you may recall hearing about the Dodge Ram split. In 2009, Ram split from Dodge to form its line of trucks. Although this separation took place more than a decade ago, many consumers still refer to Ram trucks as Dodge Ram even though no Ram truck produced after 2009 has carried the word Dodge in its name. Learn more about the history of when and why Ram split from Dodge and what this separation means for vehicle buyers and owners today.
A History of the Dodge and Chrysler Companies
The Dodge brand originated around 1900 as the Dodge Brothers Company. In 1914, Dodge began producing its signature brand of trucks. The automaker quickly established a reputation for manufacturing tough, reliable, and dependable vehicles, particularly with vehicles in its work trucks segment. In 1928, Chrysler bought Dodge, merging its operations while maintaining the Dodge brand in the automotive marketplace.
Ram was initially used to describe Dodge’s light-duty pickup trucks in its work truck vehicle line. Besides pickup trucks, Dodge also manufactured vehicles with Ram in their names, such as the Ramcharger SUV and the Dodge Ram Van.
In 1998, Chrysler conducted a shift from domestic to foreign ownership of the company. Daimler-Benz AG, the parent company to Mercedes-Benz, bought the American automaker. This purchase formed a new company called DaimlerChrysler AG. In 2007, Daimler-Benz released the Chrysler brand to a private equity company. In 2009, Fiat took control of Chrysler and completed its full-scale acquisition of the automaker and its assets in 2014. What emerged from this acquisition was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which retained the notable Dodge brand.
In 2019, Fiat Chrysler announced its merger with Peugeot’s parent company, a French automotive manufacturer, to form one of the world’s largest automaker groups.
How Did Dodge Ram Trucks Come Into Being?
The name Ram was initially associated with Dodge’s full-size, light-duty D series pickup truck. Dodge began production of this vehicle line in 1981. During this time, Dodge was an independent company, the brand, and Ram was a vehicle model name. In addition to the Ram, the automaker also produced models with Ram’s brand in the names, such as the Dodge Ramcharger sport utility vehicle and the Dodge Ram Van. In 1987, a Dodge Ram pickup truck joined the Dodge Dakota, a midsize pickup truck, in the vehicle lineup.
Why Did Dodge and Ram Split?
During Chrysler’s ownership of Dodge in 2009, Chrysler decided to restructure the Dodge brand from the ground up. As a result of this restructuring, Dodge assigned the cars and minivans in its vehicle lineup to the Dodge nameplate.
Its trucks, the Dodge Ram and the Dodge Dakota, were branded as Ram trucks. In marketing materials from this era, you’ll often see the brand RAM appear in all capital letters. While the capitalization was a stylistic designation that Dodge used to distinguish its trucks in the marketplace, the formatting technically isn’t grammatically correct as words that appear in all capital letters indicate acronyms. With this separation within the company in place, Ram also maintained its own CEO, Fred Diaz.
Beginning with the 2010 model year, Ram has remained a separate part of the company that has only trucks in its vehicle portfolio. If you encounter a used truck manufactured earlier than this model year, the truck will bear the Dodge Ram name.
What Were the Advantages of the Dodge Ram Split?
Dodge and Ram decided to separate their models from one another to allow each brand to concentrate on producing and introducing high-performing, innovative models to the market. The separation of the Dodge and Ram brands allowed each brand’s manufacturing facilities to focus on research and development for new vehicle models.
Upon its split, Dodge focused its work on developing muscle cars and sedans that it could market to compete with vehicles produced by Jeep and Chevrolet. Longstanding Dodge fans will recognize some notable names in its lineup, including classics vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
Ram devoted its talent and resources to testing and creating powerful, utilitarian pickup trucks, such as its popular Ram 3500 and others in its Ram trucks portfolio.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested heavily in the Ram vehicle lineup and Ram vehicle facilities in the United States. In 2016, the company invested more than $1.5 billion in the Sterling Heights, Michigan, assembly plant for its next-generation Ram 1500 truck. An additional $1 billion of investments went toward expanding its Ram Heavy-Duty Truck assembly plant.
Current Ram Vehicles
Today, consumers can find the following vehicles and more in the Ram lineup:
- Ram 1500 Light-Duty, Full-Size Pickup.
- Ram 2500 Heavy-Duty Pickup.
- Ram 3500 Heavy-Duty Pickup.
- Ram Chassis Cab.
- Ram ProMaster City Light-Duty Van.
- Ram ProMaster Heavy-Duty Van.
The Ram Commercial subdivision comprises all of Ram’s heavy-duty trucks and vans.
Which One Is It: Dodge Ram or Ram?
How do you tell whether a vehicle is a Dodge Ram or Ram model? Look at its model year. If you’re referring to the current lineup of vehicles produced since 2010, the answer is Ram. If you’re referring to a Dodge-built full-size pickup manufactured between 1981 and 2009, the answer is Dodge Ram.
The Dodge Ram and Ram brand names evoke a feeling of nostalgia for consumers who have long associated these companies with power, dependability, reliability, capability, and rugged handling. The Ram brand continues to occupy a special place in the minds and hearts of generation upon generation of Ram owners, regardless of whether they slip up and say Dodge Ram when they mean Ram.
Perhaps you have memories of being a proud owner of a Ram-built pickup at one or more times in your life. We at Freedom Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram would enjoy hearing about them. Send us a note, and feel free to share your photos and thoughts with us by email or in person at our vehicle showroom at 625 S. Springfield St. in Virden, Illinois.