Posted Jun 6th 2012 7:30PM
We've seen this sort of thing before – a group agrees to adhere to a common standard at some determined date, then when the date arrives, one or more parties in the group figures out how to 'adhere' in a completely new way. When the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) laid out its J2807 tow-rating guidelines a few years ago with input from domestic and Japanese truck makers and tow suppliers, the standardized testing regime was applauded as a way to provide reliable comparisons between manufacturers. Even though it would mean lowering their tow ratings, all of the truck makers agreed to use the J2807 protocol as of 2013.
Toyota moved to the new ratings two years ago, resulting in tow ratings for its Tundra dropping anywhere from 181 to 435 kilograms (400 to 1,000 pounds). When it came time for General Motors to announcing its 2013 trucks, it released towing specs based on the new standards, sending some ratings up and other down by a substantial number of kilograms. Ford, however, has decided that it will move to the J2807 standard when it's "all-new models come to market," which means The Blue Oval gets at least another year, probably more, to use its current figures. Predictably, GM not only cried foul, it took back the SAE numbers – even though they've been revealed – and has reverted to the pre-SAE ratings. A GM statement read, in part, "For example, key competitors are continuing to use their existing ratings for 2013 model year pickups. Retaining our existing rating system will reduce confusion for dealers and customers."
Ram hasn't disclosed its plans yet, but information on its 2013 models is expected at the end of this month and we'll know where it stands. Concerning GM, the truth is out there, you'll just have to go looking for it. Concerning the clarity everyone was hoping to find this year, well, that's still a ways off.