Ram Adds Multifunction Tailgate to 1500; FCA Reports 2018 Results; Profit-Sharing Checks on Way

A multifunction tailgate has been unveiled for the Ram 1500. // Photograph Courtesy of Ram

In a busy week, Ram Truck unveiled a new multifunction tailgate for its Ram 1500 that gives the pickup greater utility, while FCA US reported 2018 financial results and announced that its 44,000 UAW members will receive profit-sharing checks of approximately $6,000 on March 8.

Ram says the new multifunction tailgate feature on the Ram 1500 is unique among all pickups and offers customers added cargo-access flexibility. In addition to retaining the capabilities of a fully dampened, drop-down tailgate with remote release options, the multifunction tailgate adds a first-of-its-kind 60-40 split, swing-away functionality.

Unlike other multi-element tailgates, the Ram’s is trailer-friendly and does not require that the trailer and hitch be removed before opening. With a 2,000-pound load rating, the Ram multifunction tailgate retains all of the traditional tailgate’s capability.

“The Ram multifunction tailgate is intuitive to operate and owners will find it immediately useful,” says Reid Bigland, head of the Ram Brand and FCA U.S. sales. “Combined with Ram’s class-exclusive RamBox feature and new tailgate step, we’re taking Ram’s cargo management and storage to the next level.”

Ram’s multifunction tailgate has four configurations: open flat, open left door only, open right door only, and open both doors. Each door swings open by up to 88 degrees, and access can be further enhanced via a retractable center-mounted step option.

On the financial front, FCA US reported that 2018 was its best for calendar year for retail sales in 17 years — resulting in a net profit of $4.1 billion, and profit-sharing checks, on average, of $6,000 for the company’s UAW members.

U.S. retail sales were 1.7 million in 2018, marking their highest level since 2001 when sales reached 1.8 million vehicles. Total U.S. sales rose 9 percent to 2.2 million, compared to nearly 2.1 million cars and trucks in 2017. Fleet sales accounted for 21 percent of the company’s overall sales last year.

Worldwide, the company shipped 4.8 million vehicles, with Jeep Wrangler leading the way with 240,032 full-year sales. Wrangler’s previous record sales year was 2015 with 202,266 units.

Ram brand sales for the year also hit a new record of 597,368 vehicles, up 7 percent from a year ago.

“This year’s performance underscores the efforts we undertook to realign our production to give U.S. consumers more Jeep vehicles and Ram pickup trucks,” says Bigland. “We see sales remaining solid in 2019 and we look forward to expanding our vehicle portfolio with the addition of the much-anticipated Jeep Gladiator.”

Other highlights from the 2018 FCA report include:

  • Challenger sales rising 3 percent to 66,716, a new record for the nameplate.
  • Alfa Romeo almost doubling its performance from 2017 to 23,820 units.
  • Overall softening of the Chrysler brand as production of the Chrysler 200 and Town & Country wind down.
  • Fiat finished 2018 with 15,521 vehicle sales.