Despite environmental pressure on the domestic auto industry, North America’s Big Three automakers still depend on the full-size pickup market for a huge chunk of their business.
So green issues were put to one side on the day of the Detroit show, as both Chrysler and Ford unveiled crucial new models in the sector.
With typical showmanship, Chrysler brought downtown streets to a standstill — by driving a herd of 120 longhorn cattle down the road outside the motor show. The cattle, complete with cowboys and cowgirls, were there to announce the launch of the all-new Dodge Ram.
Chrysler head of sales and marketing Jim Press couldn’t resist a pun, saying the new Ram would “separate Chrysler from the herd.” Improvements include better interior finishes and a more powerful 5.7-litre hemi V8. The Ram will gain some green credentials in 2010, when hybrid and turbodiesel versions join the range.
Like Dodge, Ford knows the demographic for its big pickup. Endorsing the new F-150 were a monster truck driver, a NASCAR race driver, a rodeo bull-rider and top country singer Toby Keith.