Ram’s latest product, the Rebel pickup, features Toyo tires on a Ram truck for the first time. The fitment comes hot on the heels of Toyo’s first OE contract for a North American-made vehicle from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the A23 all-season tire for the Dodge Journey Crossroad.
Off-road performance was crucial to the Rebel, which is aimed at the outdoor sports enthusiast, but the team led by Mike Cairns, Ram’s chief engineer, wanted to achieve that without detriment to the 4×4’s on-road behavior.
Aside from suspension changes, the Rebel’s chunky Toyo A/T Open Country M+S tires (285/70 R17) were crucial in reaching that goal. Due to the project’s tight deadlines, Ram selected an off-the-shelf product rather than developing something bespoke.
“With the short lead time, we looked at what was out there,” says Cairns. “Toyo was looking to do some business with us; we looked at theirs and some other manufacturers’ tires, but this one really stood out from the others. It had the look we wanted a very aggressive tread and big sipes on the side that make it look like a great off-road tire. And it is it performs really well in mud and snow but Toyo did a nice job developing this tire because it still has pretty good rolling resistance and very little road noise, unlike a lot of knobby off-road tires. It also had really good handling characteristics on the road, so it hit all our needs. We were really happy to work with Toyo.”