By Mark Williams
In an attempt to give dealers an additional selling point over the major competitors, Ram announced it will offer a spray-on bedliner as a factory option for a suggested retail price of $450.
Fred Diaz, Ram Truck Brand’s president and CEO, made a few puzzling comments regarding the new factory option. “Creating a stand-alone brand for Ram trucks has allowed us to concentrate on how customers are using their trucks and what new features they’d like to see. … Spray-on bedliners are very popular with pickup truck owners, and we felt this factory-installed, factory-warranteed option would be a welcome response to our customers. We’ve taken our new lineup of award-winning Ram trucks and made them even better.”
We should probably note that Chrysler was doing a pretty good job of concentrating on how Ram customers were using their pickups before Fiat decided to break apart the Ram brand from the rest of Dodge. Likewise, Dodge has probably always known pickup truck owners were concerned with protecting their investment, both inside the bed and out.
Nonetheless, the extra option will likely appeal to those interested in preventing damage to the inside of their Ram bed. Bedliners — a longtime staple in the pickup truck aftermarket and also sold through most Ram dealerships — have a tendency to not fit as snugly as some would like and can rub paint off the truck at the points of contact under the liner. If moisture or debris works its way under the bed shell, rust can start to eat through the bed without the owner knowing. Drop-in liners are usually less expensive and less labor intensive as spray-on liners.
Spray-on liners have their own issues as well. Making sure the liquid material is mixed properly will determine how well it adheres to the walls of the truck, not to mention how long it will continue to look good and protect the vehicle from dents or scratches. Some spray-on liners also tend to fade a bit if left in direct sunlight for too long. However, we’ve been told the Chrysler group has done extensive testing with various ultraviolet stabilizers to minimize fade. It’s worth noting that many of the current spray-on bedliner shops also offer a limited warranty.
The new factory option will come with a warranty for three years and 36,000 miles and will be offered across the lineup of all 1500, 2500, and 3500 Rams. All cab configurations will be covered (regular, quad, crew and mega) and all bed lengths (5-foot, 7-inch; 6-foot, 4-inch; and 8-foot).
No surprise here that product planning experts believe this could become the most popular Ram option across the lineup. Although Ram hasn’t identified it as such yet, it wouldn’t surprise us at all if at some point Ram calls the spray-on bedliner a fuel economy benefit because it typically saves about 10 pounds compared with a drop-in liner. We’ll see.