On March 5 and 6, 2013, well over 10,000 people attended the Work Truck Show at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Put on by the Nation Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), this annual convention is the place for industry players like Ram Trucks to share their latest offerings with journalists and, more important, the people for whom commercial trucks are built—business owners.
Numbered among the 10,000+ attendees at this year’s show was our own Fred Diaz, President and CEO, Ram Truck brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. Mr. Diaz, who was on hand to help promote the new Ram Commercial division, took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for the RamZone blog.
RamZone: Why is it important for Ram Trucks and Ram Commercial to be at the NTEA Work Truck Show?
Fred Diaz: If you’re in the truck business—moreover, if you’re in the commercial truck business—you absolutely have to be at the NTEA Work Truck Show. The who’s who among commercial truck and van buyers are here specifically to see what corporations have to offer and how their businesses can be helped, whether that business is big or small. So it’s the businesses, they’re the reason we’re committed, and always have been committed—ever since we became the Ram Brand—to being at the Work Truck Show.
RZ: What insights or impressions of the Ram Truck brand are you hoping that the journalists and business owners in attendance will take away from the NTEA Work Truck Show?
FD: The most important thing that we want these journalists and industry people to take away is just how very serious we are about our commercial truck offerings, so much so that we created our own division—the Ram Commercial division. Beyond that, we want people to be aware of all the fine commercial products we have to offer, whether it’s the light- and heavy-duty trucks or the all-new ProMaster van that we revealed just last month at the Chicago Auto Show.
RZ: The NTEA Work Truck Show is a great place to showcase two things, upfits and partner brands. With that in mind, is there one particular upfit that you’re really looking forward to seeing at this show? And is there a partner relationship right now that you find especially exciting?
FD: The fact that we now have compressed natural gas (CNG) technology and that we do the CNG upfitting ourselves—the fact that we’re the only company to offer a CNG upfit in the factory without having to send it to a third party—I think this is significant for the Ram Truck brand and the commercial business buyer.
To answer your second question, Bosch has been a great partner for us recently, helping us promote the use of commercial vehicles alongside their commercial-grade tools. In fact, they are here with us at the show. But really, all our partners have helped us achieve brand success, and they continue to help us create our own separate, distinctive personality, which, in turn, is letting people know that we’re here to stay and that we’re here to grow in the commercial business.
RZ: The Ram brand has a strong presence in the world of social media—the brand is active and popular on Facebook and Twitter. This interview, in fact, will appear on the RamZone blog. Is there one thing you want to say to those “social” communities in particular?
FD: Just this: we are devoted to listening to our customers and delivering on what they need. That idea has been the fundamental key to our success as the new Ram brand.
RZ: Imagine you’re a business owner. If you had to name your favorite Ram Truck feature—or one feature that could help a business run more smoothly—what would it be?
FD: I would have to say that my number one favorite feature [pause]—man, there are so many to choose from—it’s almost an unfair question, like asking me to name my favorite child. I’ll give it a shot. [Pause] Because it can be used for business applications, recreation and for your vocation, I’d have to say my favorite feature is the RamBox. You can use it to store tools, hunting rifles, fishing rods—you can chill your favorite frosty beverage in there as well. There are just so many things that you can do with that RamBox, but I don’t know if I can stop there. The RamBox, the link coil suspension, the active air suspension—these are three of the features I love the most with the light-duty Ram Truck.
As for the heavy duty, what I love is the fact that we’ve whooped the competition’s rear end when it comes to our gross combined weight rating at 37,600 pounds and the fact that, at an incredible 30,000 pounds, we have by far the best in-class towing capability. It’s unheard of, those two numbers combined.
RZ: Final question. Is Ram Commercial going to be a North American brand?
FD: Ram Commercial is definitely going to be North-American centric. But who knows going toward the future—we’re always looking for opportunities to grow our business.
RZ: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
FD: Thank you!
Visit RamTrucks.com to learn more about the Ram Commercial vehicles currently available.