Old habits die hard, and sometimes, we even find ourselves referring to Chrysler's pickups as "Dodge" Rams. But starting with the 2013 model year, Ram is its own legitimate stand-alone brand, as validated and affirmed by the vehicles' VIN numbers. We were clued into this by a post on Chrysler enthusiast forum Allpar.com, and out of curiosity, we went back and looked at the window stickers of some 2012-model "Ram" trucks.

The 2012 Ram 2500 CNG we tested had a "D" in the fifth spot of its VIN, indicating it was a Dodge. On the sticker for a 2013 Ram 1500 SLT we had in recently for testing, sure enough, the fifth-place character was an "R."

Chrysler announced the formation of the Ram brand in 2009, taking effect with 2010 model-year trucks. It was part of an effort to separate the branding and marketing of Dodge Cars and SUVs, which were being positioned as more aggressive and performance-oriented, and give the trucks a more distinct identity as tough, durable workhorses, with a no-nonsense authenticity. That theme was powerfully encapsulated by this year's "Farmer" Super Bowl ad for Ram, which has received more than 15 million views on YouTube since it went up in February.

In an inquiry to Chrysler regarding the VIN change, Ram Brand spokesman Nick Cappa said, "The VIN change was aligned with the 2013 model year on all Ram products because we wanted to align opportunities in tooling and internal system changes along with new dealer agreements."

Source: Allpar.com, Chrysler