The phrase “Dodge Ram” rolls off the tongue as easily as mac and cheese and Bennie and the Jets.
But is it accurate?
Well, yes and no. Let’s look.
Some Dodge History
Dodge was founded in 1900, making it one of the oldest extant automotive brands. Michigan-born John and Horace Dodge had originally started out making bicycles, but turned their attention to vehicles. By 1902, the Dodge’s machine shop had grown to become one of the largest suppliers to the nascent automobile industry.
The brothers began working with Henry Ford and his new automotive venture, creating production drawings and mechanical parts. By 1914, they decided they wanted to take the experience they gained with Ford to begin building their own rides. The first Dodge vehicle hit the scene in 1914. In less than a year after beginning production, Dodge had already become the nation’s third best-selling auto manufacturer.
Tragically, John and Horace were casualties of the infamous influenza epidemic of 1920, leaving their wives Anna and Matilda ownership of the company. The brand continued to grow, and by 1921, Dodge was the second best-selling brand in the nation. During that decade, the automaker also introduced the industry-first all-steel Business Coupe and opened the brand’s first Canadian plant.
Dodge and Ram
Chrysler bought the company in 1928, 14 years after the Dodge Brothers Company began producing what became popular and reliable trucks. Apparently not wanting to mess up a good thing, Chrysler retained the original brand recognition.
Ram was originally the name of one of Dodge’s light-duty pickup trucks. The first “Dodge Ram” – a full-size light-duty pickup truck — was born in 1981. There was also a Dodge Ram Van and Dodge Ramcharger SUV.
But Are Dodge and Ram Synonymous?
Again, yes and no. After the Chrysler Group restructured the Dodge brand a dozen years ago, cars and minivans were lumped under the Dodge nameplate, while its Dodge Ram and Dodge Dakota became Ram trucks. Since then, Ram has been a separate part of the company and focuses exclusively on trucks, which brings us to the offering of today’s Ram lease deals. Meanwhile, if you’re considering a used truck from an earlier model year, that’s a Dodge Ram.
Why the Split?
They basically went in their own directions so that each brand could, well, better do its respective thing. Following the split, Dodge turned its focus to sedans and muscle cars such as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and Dodge Charger to better compete with, say, the Chevy Camaro and SS. By the same token, Ram concentrated on creating and producing formidable pickup trucks such as the Ram 3500.
So, is it Dodge Ram or Ram?
It depends on the year the truck was made. If you’re referring to the vehicles produced since 2010, those are Rams. If you’re talking about the pickups that rolled off the line from 1981 to 2009, those are Dodge Rams.
But it’s pretty much splitting hairs, since both divisions are part of the same parent company. It’s mostly a marketing issue. If you dubbed one of the newer trucks a Dodge Ram, you’d technically be wrong. Still, most people know what you mean, and scant few would complain.
Current Ram Lineup
As of 2021, Ram truck and van offerings include the Ram 1500 TRX, Ram 1500. Ram 1500 Classic, Ram Heavy Duty, Ram Chassis Cab, Ram Promaster, and Ram Promaster City.
As we’ve discussed, the question of whether a Ram is a Dodge — or not — officially hinges on the year the vehicle was produced. However, if you insist on calling a new Ram a Dodge Ram, the company will no doubt forgive you – particularly if you buy one.