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Kez Casey | Nov, 19 2015 | 5 Comments

US Pick-up truck manufacturer Ram, part of the Fiat Chrysler group, has launched into the Australian market - but not as a part of the factory-backed FCA group.

Instead the Walkinshaw Automotive Group has teamed up with importer Ateco Automotive to engineer and convert the vehicles here in Australia, for distribution through a group of 20 dealers initially.

The new collaboration will go under the banner of American Special Vehicles, and will offer both the Ram 2500 and 3500 models in Australia, both with full volume import approval and ADR compliance, meaning no restrictions on numbers.

Using a purpose-built production line in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton, the Walkinshaw Automotive Group takes fully-imported left hand drive vehicles, and re-manufactures them to right hand drive.

Both variants feature a 6.7 litre Cummins inline six-cylinder turbo diesel engine which cranks out 276kW and 1084Nm of torque. A Chrysler-built six-speed automatic transfers power to the wheels.

That results in a mammoth 6989kg towing capacity for Ram 2500 and 6170kq for Ram 3500. Payload for the 2500 is 913kg, while the 3500 can carry 1713kg.

Underneath the bodywork is a ladder frame chassis constructed from 50-KSI steel, featuring eight separate crossmembers, hydroformed frame rails, and fully boxed rear rails to increase strength and stability.

Suspension for 2500 models comprises a three-link coil sring front end, matched to a five-link coil spring rear including multi-rate coil springs and heavy duty twin-tube shock absorbers.

The 3500 upgrades to a Hotchkiss rear leaf spring setup, enabling the higher payload of that model.

Off-road capability is provided courtesy of a Borg-Warner BW 44-46 transfer case which features shift-on-the-fly 4x4 selection and a 2.64:1 low range reduction ratio.

Cabin comfort extends to heated and ventilated leather seats with 10-way driver, and six-way passenger power adjustment up front. Dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, tinted windows, 6.7-inch multi-view instrument cluster, Bluetooth audio connectivity, nine-speaker audio including subwoofer, and multi-function leather-bound heated steering wheel are also standard.

Safety is supported by multi-stage front airbags, front and rear seat curtain airbags, rear park assist, rear view camera, tyre pressure monitoring, and electronic stability control.

Pricing starts at $139,500 for the Ram 2500 or 146,500 for the Ram 3500. American Special Vehicles provides a three-year 100,000km warranty and offers full parts and service support.

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