— The Chrysler Group will one-up the competition this summer with a new Dodge pickup that boasts the industry's largest passenger cabin, according to the Detroit News
on February 4.According to Dodge, the four-door Dodge Ram Mega Cab will have the largest back seat and most interior storage space in the industry.Chrysler is expected to take the wraps off Mega Cab at the Chicago Auto Show next week. The carmaker has added spin-offs to the Dodge Ram lineup in recent years to sustain buzz about the model, which accounts for about one in five of Chrysler's U.S. sales. Chrysler dealers who got a first look at Mega Cab at meetings in November say the pickup's exterior is similar to the four-door Dodge Ram Quad-Cab on the market today and has a list price of around $33,000, but with a longer cabin that cuts deeper into the truck's bed. "If you're looking at the truck, you know you've got at least 6 more inches of cab space in legroom alone," said Robert Barben, general manager of Waco Dodge Hyundai in Texas. "The doors are just that much wider on the back end." Mega Cab is based on the heavy-duty Ram 2500 series underbody, and is expected to be available with a 345-horsepower V-8 Hemi engine and a rear-seat DVD player. It will be marketed as the biggest cab in the industry, beating the Ford F-250 Crew Cab, which has 133 cubic feet of interior cabin volume. At a meeting this fall with dealers in Texas – the nation's biggest market for full-size trucks – Chrysler said it was planning to build 70,000 Mega Cab pickups a year. In addition to Mega Cab, the only other new full-size truck debuting this year is Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln Mark LT, an upscale pickup based on the Ford F-150 that went on sale this month. The standard Dodge Ram, which debuted in 2001, will also get a refresh this fall, but a totally redesigned model is not expected until 2008, Lindland said. Next year, the redesigned Toyota Tundra pickup and replacements for General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups will be launched. In an ongoing quest to capture a bigger chunk of the U.S. car and truck market, Chrysler has touted its nine model launches last year and its plans to introduce at least five vehicles this year, including the Dodge Charger sedan, Jeep Commander SUV, a coupe version of the Dodge Viper sports car, and high-performance versions of the Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon. Mega Cab, meanwhile, has been shrouded in secrecy.