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Promising future
Promising future
The Ram shows what Chrysler is really capable of. It needs smaller cars as good as this.
There's more than a glimmer of hope to be seen in the 2009 Dodge Ram truck. As always, there is an eye-catching exterior and there are tricky add-ons, like the Rambox storage bins worked into the bed walls.

But there's real depth here, too. Innovative coil springs provide a more car-like road feel and the interior is richly detailed.

There are positive signs in other recent product introductions, too. The Dodge Challenger muscle car has an interior that, while bland, is at least well built. And the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a future product only recently unveiled, looks elegant inside and out.

This new crop of Chrysler vehicles marks a change in attitude about providing the best product possible for its customers.

So far, we've seen this attitude in a truck, an SUV and muscle car. To survive, Chrysler needs competitive small and midsized cars. To thrive, they'll need to be more than competitive to make up for Chrysler's past sins.

For this, the plan is to get help from Fiat. The Italian automaker seems to have the needed expertise, but we'll have to see how it translates to the American market.

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Last updated June 10 2009: 1:40 PM ET
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