New Ram CEO aims to continue moving brand forward
Auburn Hills — Ram Truck has no plans of slowing down under new CEO and President Bob Hegbloom.
The 28-year Chrysler veteran has lived and breathed trucks for most of his career and has all intentions of towing the brand forward in the highly competitive North American truck market.
"No one can stand still in this segment," he told reporters Thursday during a roundtable in Auburn Hills. "We have to continue to move forward."
Hegbloom comes to lead the fastest growing truck band in the U.S. during a pivotal time for the pickup truck market, as automakers attempt to meet the government's aggressive 2017-25 standards that include a company's fleet of light-duty vehicles combine for 54.5 miles per gallon and competition grows. Internally, the company also has its own long-term goals of growing the brand's North American sales 34 percent to 620,000 trucks and vans by 2018.
But in the short-term, Hegbloom has his crosstown rivals in his cross hairs.
Hegbloom said Ram will do as much as it can to take market share and customers away from General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.
And the work gloves are off when it comes to advertising. In a new campaign called "Just the Facts," Ram positions its trucks against "everybody" in an attempt to "educate" customers on best-in-class features of the truck.
One ad, called "Job Site," directly names Ford.
Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said going directly after the competition — particularly Ford — isn't necessary a bad idea right now.
"Ram feels it has the real-world capability while Ford has a reputation for its capability," he said. "It makes sense."
The leading features about the Ram lineup might not hold up for too long, though. Ford plans to release its aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 by the end of the year that some analysts and Ford have called a "game changer" thanks to its reduced weight, new powertrain capabilities and features.
"Will it be a game changer in the market place? Time will tell," Hegbloom said. "But I don't see anyone asking for aluminum trucks today."