Full-size American Ram Trucks pickups will go on sale in Australia by the end of the year, as part of a just-confirmed co-operation between the Walkinshaw Automotive Group and Neville Crichton, owner of automotive distributor Ateco Automotive.
A media release today announced that a deal between the two groups had been finalised ahead of the launch of the big Yank Tanks by year’s end, and unveiling to the media on November 18.
The joint-venture is to be known as American Special Vehicles.
The deal sees the importation of Ram Trucks vehicles direct from their US factory — rather than on-sold via a third party — to Walkinshaw, known also as a Holden tuner and as parent to Australia’s importer of Indian ute-maker Tata.
Walkinshaw says it has “invested millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man-hours” into getting the Ram range “absolutely spot on”.
The American Special Vehicles Ram pick-ups will be produced with full-volume import approval, meaning they will be fully compliant with Australian Design Rules and that American Special Vehicles will be the sole importer of Ram models covered by that approval.
Pictured: Ryan Walkinshaw (left) and Neville Crichton.
They will be covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty along with full parts and service support.
The factory-direct importation is the result of an official stamp of approval from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Crichton is behind the official FCA distributor in New Zealand.
Ateco contributes to the arrangement its importing, distribution, network, sales and marketing resources.
As we reported in April, Ram vehicles were originally slated to be here by by September. At that time, the deal saw Crichton paired with joint-venture partner Clyde Campbell, the former FCA Australia chief who has since been embroiled in a well-publicised series of alleged scandals.
Campbell is no longer mentioned as part of the deal.
“It’s great to be associated with the Walkinshaw family again,” said Crichton. “I used to race touring cars with Ryan’s father, Tom Walkinshaw, who was legendary for his determination, success and attention to detail. This venture with Ryan and his Walkinshaw Automotive Group is going to produce some fantastic vehicles, their engineering is second to none.”
Expected to comprise the Ram launch range are the heavy duty 2500 and 3500 trucks (the latter pictured) — the latter of which has a payload of about 3.3 tonnes and a hitch-receiver towing capacity of up to 8 tonnes (more than double a Ford Ranger) thanks to its 1200Nm 6.7-litre Cummins V8 I6 diesel engine.
The main rivals for the Ram range will be other converted American trucks, such as the Ford F-250 sold here in RHD guise by Queensland’s Performax International. Some may remember that Ford itself sold the F-250 here about a decade ago, with some success.
Expect pricing to kick off somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 (similar to the converted F-250), with the range going northward from there.
A company spokesman told us previously that the “full gamut” was being looked at, though it could run into some stumbling blocks if it wants the ‘baby’ 1500 series, given Fiat Chrysler’s Australian factory importer is eyeing that version off.
It’s no secret that Fiat Chrysler Australia chief Pat Dougherty is interested in exploring the business case for the RAM 1500 here.
Further information in regard to the American Special Vehicles RAM model range, specification, pricing and the RAM dealer network will be available on November 18. Interest in RAM pick-ups can be registered at www.ramtrucks.com.au
What do you think of the prospect of getting into a full-sized RAM pickup?