Demand is high for the 1500.

For all of the problems plaguing the automotive industry, pickup trucks aren’t one of them. Demand for the big workhorses hasn’t slipped much despite the coronavirus pandemic and semiconductor shortage eating into production. The demand has forced Stellantis, Ram’s new overseer, to kick pickup truck production into high gear. The Detroit Free Press reports that skilled trades workers will soon be clocking 84-hour workweeks to build the 1500.

The extra hours are being added at the automaker’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan, where the company builds the 1500. Some of the workers will be expected to work seven days on followed by seven days off; however, affected workers shared their displeasure about the work schedule with the Free Press. Many told the publication that they’re frustrated with the long, disruptive shifts, though the alternative they could have chosen would have required even more disruptive rotations.

Gallery: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Production Start

Demand for the Ram 1500 strained dealer supplies in May of last year when Reuters reported that dealers were worried about running out of inventory. Sales did fall by 90,000 trucks – 11 percent – in 2020, likely caused by the coronavirus, though Ram still managed to sell over 500,000 pickups. High demand for trucks also saw Ford struggling to meet the demand for its redesigned F-150 late last year as dealers saw trucks selling within hours of being delivered to showrooms.

Ram was still able to clinch the spot for America’s third-best-selling vehicle in 2020, nipping at the Chevy Silverado’s heels. The introduction of the 702-horsepower (523-kilowatt) Ram 1500 TRX should only help increase demand as 2021 continues. The high-horsepower truck is the brand’s answer to the Ford F-150 Raptor that has gone a decade without a proper competitor. Stellantis employees will be working hard to guarantee the TRX hits the desert this year.

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