V8 pickup to go on sale Down Under, but not the all-new one... at least not yet
Local distributor Ateco Automotive has confirmed a mid-year Australian launch for the 2018 Ram 1500 – that is, the outgoing model, not the 2019 range revealed in January. Due to demand in the US, that all-new offering won't be available to our market for at least another year.
With the last of the current-generation 1500, Ateco is aiming straight for high-end versions of the ever-growing ute segment – think Ranger Wildtrak, Ranger Raptor, X-Class and Amarok V6.
Unlike those offerings, however, the 1500 has the unique advantage of a V8 engine, promising "best-in-class towing, power cab size and cargo space".
Final pricing and specifications won't be revealed until the 1500's mid-year launch, though the company has confirmed all versions will feature a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 as standard under the bonnet.
Other headlining features include a tub measuring nearly two metres long, and the option of the RamBox Cargo Management system.
Like the wider Ram range in Australia, the 1500 will be covered by the company's three year, 100,000 kilometre warranty.
The vehicles will enter Australia in their original left-hand-drive form, to be "remanufactured" to right-hand-drive in Melbourne.
Ateco, through its Ram Trucks Australia brand, says its conversion process involves separating the chassis and body so that a re-engineered RHD-specific steering system can be fitted, along with a new dashboard "designed, developed and produced" in Australia.
"The work is so substantial that it requires production line levels of quality, fit and finish, and a height of engineering excellence that means it is officially classed as a remanufactured vehicle, not a conversion, and it is offered with a comprehensive three year/100,000 km warranty and backed by a nationwide dealer group," the company says.
Stay tuned for a pricing and specifications rundown closer to the new ute's mid-year launch. Click the photos tab for more images.
What about the all-new 2019 model?
It appears the recently-revealed all-new 2019 Ram 1500 (above) is off the cards for the time being – Ateco was unable to offer any official comments as to why.
What is known, however, is that demand in the US is so strong that external markets won't have access to the new 1500 until at least 2019, possibly longer.
Still, it stands to reason that once it becomes available, Ateco will work to bring the new generation into Australia. Given the cost in developing and maintaining a local conversion and remanufacturing operation, this is unlikely to be a short-term project.