Chrysler Looking At Unibody Pickup

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
chrysler looking at unibody pickup

The small pickup market may be dwindling, but Chrysler may be looking at getting back in to the segment – though their next small or mid-size pickup won’t be a body-on-frame vehicle like the now-cancelled Dakota.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler’s Joe Veltri said that

“The trucks today, they are big, they are fuel-inefficient…the formula, in my opinion, doesn’t meet the needs of the market.”

Citing the strength of the small/mid-size truck market in previous years, Veltri said that their undoing was the narrow price gap between them and their full-size companions. Veltri feels like younger buyers, who enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking, as well as older buyers looking to downsize, would be interested in a truck with a smaller footprint and better fuel economy.

While sales of the Toyota Tacoma are up 27 percent year over year, sales of the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline are down. The next Chevrolet Colorado will be a body-on-frame vehicle, though no firm timetable has been given for the truck’s re-introduction. The new small pickup would be branded as a RAM truck, but there’s no indication of whether it would use a front-drive unibody platform similar to upcoming Jeeps, or if it would be rear-drive based.

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  • Broo Broo on Jul 06, 2012

    I almost replaced my '06 long bed Ranger with a brand new Tacoma. I then remembered how often I was happy to have the extra foot longer. Toyota (and GM ?) used to make compact trucks with 7' bed with a 4 cylinders. This would replace both my daily driver and my pickup. Today's Tacoma has a I4 that has the same torque, more HP and better MPG than my Ranger's V6 ! Give it a 7' bed and I'm buying.

  • Vent-L-8 Vent-L-8 on Jul 06, 2012

    because Honda's unibody midsize truck worked out so well .... wait, what.

  • Cheezeweggie Cheezeweggie on Jul 07, 2012

    The Ridgeline was an overpriced optioned-out SUV aimed at the affluent buyer with the desire for a truck bed rather than a practical pickup. Marketing a truly useful and economical unibody pickup in the US would be an uphill battle since Americans are conditioned into buying much more than they really need. How often do most of us need to haul more than bagged mulch, plywood or a Labrador Retriever ?

  • Andy D Andy D on Jul 07, 2012

    Unibody construction in a pick up doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling living deep in the rustbelt. It is hard enough keeping a BOF's frame intact. I like my 600$ rat 94 Ranger.But it is an antique compared to my brother's 09 Tacoma 2wd base model. That is a very nice middle size truck.

    • See 2 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Jul 07, 2012

      @highdesertcat outback ute, I should have been more clear. Thanks. The bed and the cab were joined at the cab and presented the owner with problems not otherwise experienced by BOF vehicles where the body and cab were able to swivel or twist separately from each other.