by Patrick Rall
I recently had a chance to speak with Ralph Gilles – CEO and President of the newly formed high performance SRT brand and design head for the Chrysler Group – during the launch of the new SRT High Performance Tour. After Mr. Gilles spoke a bit about the 2012 Charger, Challenger, 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee in SRT8 form, he opened the floor to questions from the small group of media present. Automotive executives rarely discuss future models due to the level of competition in the industry, but as a Ram owner and lover of high performance trucks, I had to ask Ralph about the possibility of a future SRT-level Ram pickup.
My question to Mr. Gilles was whether or not the SRT Group sees a
business case and demand for an SRT variant of the Ram 1500. Notice, I
didn’t ask him if they were going to make one, but rather, I was
interested to see if he and his group think that there is the market for
a high performance pickup, like we saw in the Dodge Ram SRT10 a few
years ago. His reply should be looked at as being good news for those
who yearn for a truck that will beat out today’s sports cars.
SRT boss Gilles was candid in his response, but he did say that there are
people within the Chrysler Group hierarchy who see a business case and
appropriate demand for a high performance vehicle based on the Ram
1500. Gilles also pointed out that the SRT Group is very aware of the
demand from the consumers for an SRT Ram, but he closed by saying that if
they were to build a new SRT Ram, they would “do it right this time”.
So what does that mean?
Well, earlier in the evening Gilles was talking about the history of the
SRT lineup and he mentioned that looking back, there were vehicles that
they would do again and others that he thought missed the mark. He
elaborated by pointing out that the Ram SRT10 Regular Cab, which packed
the Viper V10 and a manual transmission, was very popular and did a fine
job of representing the SRT name, while the Quad Cab version (automatic
only) was far less popular. The Ram SRT10 Quad Cab packed the same
power as the regular cab models but with the automatic transmission and
heavier truck, the performance was a far cry from that of the smaller
The short of this all is that from what was said by SRT Group President
Ralph Gilles, there is a possibility of seeing a high performance Ram
pickup from the Street and Racing Technology Group in the coming years.
Keep your fingers crossed!What do you think? Do you see a
business case and demand for an SRT variant of the Ram 1500? Voice your opinion here!