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Why pickup trucks have to be fancy now

Rick Newman
Senior Columnist

They used to be known as “work trucks’’—dusty gravel-churners great for hauling stuff around and standing up to abuse. You’d wash them by parking them in the rain. Sometimes it was easiest just to leave the keys inside.

Pickups have evolved and now feature plush materials, all-day Internet and tailgating niceties. “Pickup buyers want everything,” Jim Morrison, head of Fiat Chrysler’s (FCAU) Ram brand, tells Yahoo Finance in the video above. “Luxury is not just real wood and real leather, it’s the ride quality you get, the space you get inside.”

The new Ram pickup, just going on sale now, has earned raves for amenities including an iPad-like infotainment system, fast-charge USB ports, noise-deadening insulation and upscale options such as suede seat bolsters and two-tone stitching. Right. It’s a pickup.

Like all full-size pickups, it comes with an array of engine and transmission options, seating configurations and bed sizes, to measure up to any job. But it’s the interior that’s getting most of the attention. “The 2019 Ram is more luxe-wagon than junk hauler,” Autoweek declared. “It makes a lot of sense. Most folks don’t use their truck just as a tool but rely on it for daily use, too.”

Morrison took a veiled swipe at Ford’s F-150, which broke new ground with the use of high-strength aluminum in place of much of the prior model’s steel. The F-150 remains the nation’s best-selling pickup, but some purists want nothing to do with aluminum. “Our customers said we want steel around us, to keep us safe, and most importantly in the bed,” Morrison says. “So there’ll be no holes in this bed.” Reassuring.

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Rick Newman is the author of four books, including Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman

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