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The Ram Tradesman debuts at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show

This afternoon at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, Chrysler’s Ram brand introduced the newest trimline for the half ton pickups – the 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman, due in dealerships in the second quarter of 2011.


The 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman begins with all of the features of the entry-level Ram 1500 ST but unlike the ST, the Tradesman packs the 390hp, 407lb-ft of torque Hemi and the 5-speed automatic transmission. The Tradesman than adds a Class IV trailer hitch assembly with both 4- and 7-pin trailer connections mounted next to the license plate for ease of access, along with a heavy-duty oil cooler and transmission cooler to help handle the abuse that comes with an impressive 10,450lb towing capacity. Granted, the Hemi is an option in the 2011 Ram 1500 ST but when you configure the base model truck with the Hemi, the price comes to just under $25k, where the Tradesman will carry a starting price of just $22,780 including the destination fee.

The 2011 Ram Tradesman is available only with a regular cab but buyers can pick either the 6’4” or 8’ bed, 2- or 4-wheel drive and there are ten color options available: bright silver metallic, bright white, brilliant black crystal pearl, deep cherry red crystal pearl, deep water blue pearl, flame red, hunter green pearl, mineral gray metallic, rugged brown pearl and white gold metallic paint.
Ram brand CEO Fred Diaz offered this comment about the new Tradesman trimline:
“The Ram Tradesman is named for -- and aimed at -- the heart of our business. This is a hard-working truck for hard-working people. Durability, reliability and value for the money are the top three considerations for our customers. Their truck is the most important tool they own and one they’ll use every day. The Ram Tradesman is a truck they can depend on.”

While the average buyer might not be interested in the stripped-down Hemi powered Ram Tradesman but other than just buying for commercial use, I see an additional group that could be interested in the new value trimline. In omitting all of the frills of the higher end Ram 1500 models, the Tradesman not only cuts price but it also cuts weight. This package seems ideal to someone who wants to buy a new Ram 1500 with a Hemi not to serve as a work truck but more as a performance vehicle.

The 390hp, 407tq Hemi has proven to be a popular choice for those who want a go-fast truck and for under $23k, buyers could get into a Hemi-powered, rear wheel drive 2011 Ram RCSB (regular cab, short bed) Tradesman without any non-essential items which seems to be to be the lightest Ram option available. Considering how much more expensive the sport-oriented R/T is than the $23,000 Tradesman, someone looking to build a fast Ram could get into the base Tradesman with the Hemi, 17” steel wheels and 3.55 gears – then upgrade to rims/tires that would get better traction and upgrade to steeper gears (like the 4.10s in the Ram R/T) and have a truck that is likely faster than the performance package R/T. This certainly isn’t what the folks at Ram had in mind for the Tradesman but for those who shrug their shoulders at the new work truck, the 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman has potential to be more than just a stripped out work truck.

Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the new Ram 1500 Tradesman and click the links below for more coverage from the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

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