Do Ram Engineers Have Aftermarket Stock?

June 2016 Column, Cummins, Feature Brady L. Kay

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue. 

In golf, it’s referred to as “sand bagging” when you deliberately perform at a lower level than you are capable of. I’m not necessarily accusing the engineers at Ram for sand bagging when they came up with the new grille design, but they might be “tipping their pitches” so the aftermarket companies can get a little more business. Hey, you didn’t hear this from me.

It’s no secret the aftermarket business is extremely popular in our industry. Something as simple as a new grille, bumpers and headlights can dramatically transform a stock truck into your own personalized look. But what Ram is offering with its new Laramie Edition is down right cruel. It’s made adding an aftermarket grille practically mandatory! 

It’s not exactly in the Edsel category in my opinion, but the new Ram Laramie is getting a lot of attention for the wrong reasons. The Ford Edsel is one of the most famous examples of the impact an ugly grille can have on the success of an automobile. Named in memory of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, who had passed away several years before its release, the Edsel was a risky new design, marketing strategy and deployment of a car that was intended to make Ford more competitive in the domestic market. Unfortunately, by all accounts, everything from the release to the marketing campaign strategy was a complete failure. In the annals of American automotive parlance, the term “Edsel” represents the failure, more than the car model itself.

“It’s made adding an aftermarket grille practically mandatory!”

Before you die-hard Ram fans start flooding my inbox with hate mail, it’s important to point out that I’m not the only one who thinks this new grille is ugly. USA Today reported the Ram Laramie might be a new heir to the Edsel title. In February, Ram announced the new Laramie Limited, featuring new lines, and a very noticeable new grille and tailgate and that’s when the “feedback” first started.

“That is the most horrible grille in the history of trucks,” wrote The R on “Please kill it. You take a beautiful truck and murder it with that nose.”

Another commenter, Colcrafts, says, “UUuugly! Are we sure it's a Ram? It has Edsel written all over it.”

What makes the new version of the super-deluxe pickup strange is a pair of holes on either side of the grille that look almost like giant hand grips, maybe meant for giants so strong that they can just grab and lift the truck rather than jack it up when they want to change a tire.

Auto reviewers taking their first look were a little more guarded. Mark Williams at called them “outer flaring nostril ports.” He opines that perhaps Ram was trying to find a way to set itself apart from its Dodge roots, stylistically.

Only time will tell if the Laramie Limited’s new grille will catch on with the fan base, or if it is destined to be mocked and reviled. I hope it doesn’t derail all the positive attention the EcoDiesel has been receiving, because I’m optimistic the half-ton will do well in our segment of the pickup industry. T-Rex Grilles, Royalty Core, Status Grilles, RBP and others, we’re counting on you to save this truck and I know you won’t let us down. Let’s just hope we don’t find out down the road that a couple of these Ram engineers are actually part-owners in an aftermarket grille company. Actually, that wouldn’t be bad if we discovered this to be true. It would at least give us some closure and help answer the question of why someone would do something like this to an otherwise good-looking pickup truck.


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