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2023 Ram 1500 regular-cab, short-bed configuration quietly dies

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Once the best-selling cab-bed configuration in the truck world, the regular-cab, short-bed configuration is no more on the 2023 Ram 1500 thanks to changing consumer demand and emissions.

When people think of a pickup truck, they often remember the regular-cab, short-bed with roll-up windows. These are the trucks found throughout rural areas as well as used by businesses all over the country. Over the years, though, all manufacturers have quietly discounted these configurations and, now with the refreshed fifth-generation Ram truck, the regular-cab, short-bed has died.

Wait, a Ram 1500 regular-cab, short-bed still existed?

If you are an avid truck fan, you may be thinking, wait? They still built this configuration? Yup.

The configuration was only available for the Ram 1500 Classic, aka the fourth-generation truck Ram has been building alongside the fifth-generation.

For reference: 2019 to present is the fifth-get Ram 1500, and 2009 to 2018 is the fourth-get Ram 1500. 

With the refreshed 2023 Ram 1500 model starting to be built, the dealer order guide doesn’t reference the regular-cab, short-bed option, according to MoparInsiders.com.

Why kill this kind of truck?

The reason why this truck was killed comes down to three things. 

First, the consumer demand has shifted from regular-cab trucks to crew cabs. Those cabs now make up the heart of the market. 

Second, the short-bed model has the smallest wheelbase among all full-size trucks. This may sound great for consumers who want a truck that fits in the garage However, the small wheelbase is actually a problem. Why is it a problem? Emissions standards. 

In 2012, the Obama administration changed how the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards are calculated by introducing a new metric for footprint. Basically, the longer the vehicle, the less strict fuel economy standards would be for new vehicles. CAFE is a big deal for automakers who face fines if they don’t meet their targets.

The thinking was people would shop primarily for a vehicle based on fuel economy, so they wanted smaller vehicles to be even better for MPG. However, automakers and consumers didn’t play ball with this idea and instead made vehicles longer. 

This means a regular-cab, short-bed truck MUST get better fuel economy than a crew-cab truck with the same bed size even though they share the same powertrain. The fact is regular-cab, short-bed trucks simply can’t do that, and we have seen automakers kill off this variant rather than create a new powertrain for only those kinds of trucks.

Ram 1500 regular cabThird and finally, Ram has been preparing for a transition to a fully battery electric truck and needs the manufacturing capacity to build these trucks. It also recently killed the EcoDiesel engine offering for this very reason.

The bottom line

Another popular truck configuration is gone as we transition to electric trucks, and the role of the truck continues to evolve into a family hauler and less of a basic work vehicle. This won’t be the last news on the changing truck market, and you expect more staple offerings to bite the dust in the years to come.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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