Declaring Chrysler was not letting up on its “commercial vehicle market offensive,” Joe Veltri, director of truck product marketing, described a range of enhancements to all Dodge commercial vehicles at a news conference at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

“Our new owners [of Chrysler] are committed to keeping us strong in this market,” Veltri declared right off. “Since our return to this market in 2003, we have launched six vehicles — the Ram 2500 Box-Off; Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs; the Sprinter; and the Grand Caravan Cargo Van.

According to Veltri, a long list of upgrades and enhancements can either be credited to 2008 models or are planned for 2009 models:

  • Fuel economy performance for 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs is 23% better than competitors' models.

  • 2008 Dodge Sprinter offers 25% better fuel economy than other vans.

  • 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs certified for up to 1,172 lbs.

  • 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis cab standard GCWR increased to 24,000 lbs.

  • Power take-off (PTO) pump ratings for all Ram chassis cabs increased 55%.

  • PTO prep package now available with Laramie trim-level trucks.

  • All-new ambulance prep package introduced for 2009 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs.

  • Upgraded brake system for 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis cab extends service intervals and delivers maximum stopping power.

  • New 5.7L HEMI V8 with Variable Valve Timing delivers increased horsepower and torque ratings with improved fuel economy.

  • Cummins 6.7L diesel engine available with Remote Start (automatic only).

Veltri also noted that for small business owners, the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van is optimized with a number of new factory upfit options. These include a new exterior vinyl window shading that can be applied to the outside window; both full- and half-width cargo dividers; wire mesh and solid metal window interior inserts; a cargo compartment floor mat; and carpeted and molded wall liners placed over the inside of the windows so others can't see inside.

Looking ahead, Veltri told Fleet Owner that Dodge will offer a new Cummins light-duty diesel — “being developed even as we speak” — sometime after the 2009 model year, and a hybrid-powered Ram 1500 half-ton pickup is in the works for the 2010 model year.