The door to factory-backed imports of Chryser's Ram brand of heavy-duty pickups remains open, with Fiat Chrysler's local division currently hammering out a ute strategy with the Ram head office in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
However, Fiat Chrysler Australia is understood to have its eye on the smaller Ram 1500 range, rather than the "full-sized" 2500 and 3500 models that are already slated to arrive here via Fiat Chrysler New Zealand as RHD-converted vehicles
According to Fiat Chrysler Australia CEO Pat Dougherty, the Ram 1500 presents the company with an opportunity to extend its commercial vehicle offerings beyond the range of vans and light trucks that make up the Fiat Professional range
"We have our Fiat Professional unit that handles all the vans, and we have a full range there. For now we’re focused on the ute side," he said to TMR last week.
"We have a conversation [coming up] with our office in Auburn Hills, and we’ve had multiple conversations regarding a ute. We’d like to have that product on the market here."
And from Dougherty's point of view, the Ram 1500 wouldn't only allow it to tap into the booming ute market, but could also make for a more utilitarian partner to the popular Grand Cherokee range.
"You can go from an inexpensive, low range, low equipment level ute up to what I used to refer to as a ‘gentleman’s truck’," he said.
"Something that’s highly equipped, with leather interior, full sound system, all the same things as a Grand Cherokee in terms of comfort, those things allow us to really look hard at the ute."
"They allow us to even plow through the currency discussion because there’s enough market there that we can make a good business case. We’re looking at multiple different ways to get in that segment."
In the USA, the Ram 1500 range starts with the 4x2 1500 Tradesman single-cab, which measures 5867mm long and 2067mm wide with a 3568mm wheelbase - substantially bigger than the Ford Ranger XL single-cab 4x2.
It only gets larger from there. The range-topping 4x4 Lone Star Crew Cab with a 1930mm tub measures a huge 6042mm long, 2016mm wide and boasts a 3800mm wheelbase. The 1500 might be the smallest truck in Ram's range, but 'small' is merely a relative term.
Engine options vary according to body style, but across the range the Ram 1500 is available with either a 227kW/364Nm petrol 3.6 V6, a 180kW/569Nm turbo diesel 3.0 litre V6 or a 295kW/556Nm 5.7 litre petrol V8.
All come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the option of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains.
But while Fiat Chrysler Australia is hard at work on the business case for the introduction of the Ram 1500, odds are we won't likely see it on our shores in this current model generation due to the lack of RHD production from the factory.
Given preceding Ram 1500 generations have typically lasted between seven and eight years, the current-gen Ram 1500 - which debuted in 2009 - is not likely to be replaced until late 2016 at the earliest.
- Interested in buying COMMER 1500? Visit our COMMER 1500 showroom for more information.