By on June 1, 2018

2003 Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T, Image: Chrysler

Years of on-again, off-again rumors about the addition of a baby Ram truck to Fiat Chrysler’s product line has led us to this day. While the automaker’s Capital Markets Day presentation in Italy focused primarily on Jeep and the two Italian luxury divisions — three of the four global brands highlighted in its five-year plan — Ram sees new product, too, including a midsize truck.

CEO Sergio Marchionne wants its core brands spread as far and wide as possible, and that means occupying new segments. For Ram, this means the large off-road truck niche and the growing midsize market. “We’re working on it,” is what Marchionne said two years ago after being asked about a midsize Ram.

FCA had kiboshed the idea in 2015, claiming that developing a new midsize would prove too costly. And yet here we are.

In this morning’s presentation, the only mention of the truck was its inclusion in a product chart. It’s listed as “new mid-size/metric ton,” and FCA says it will appear before the plan’s five-year window ends in 2022.

Ram brand boss Mike Manley wasn’t forthcoming with a predicted launch date during the presentation, nor would he say whether the model would resurrect the Dakota name. (The automaker’s last domestic midsize truck disappeared from the market after 2011.) Initially, what with so much talk of global markets and so little mention of the new model, there was some confusion as to whether the U.S. would see the truck at all.

When contacted by TTAC, David Elshoff, head of Ram brand communications, confirmed that Marchionne intends to bring the midsize truck to America. According to Elshoff, Ram brand boss Mike Manley claims the new model will replace the body-on-frame Fiat Fullback in overseas markets. The Fullback, based on the Mitsubishi Triton/L200, apparently produced “inconsequential” sales.

The replacement of the Fullback by the unnamed Ram (it’ll carry a different badge in other markets) jibes with what Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive reported via Twitter. The new truck “is expected to be more important for global sales than for US sales,” she said.

Certainly, the North American and overseas markets are polar opposites when it comes to truck size preference (and availability). Given the upcoming addition of the Ford Ranger in the domestic market and the continued success of the Toyota Tacoma and General Motors twins, a new Ram makes sense, but it only makes financial sense as a global product.

Paul Eisenstein of The Detroit Bureau tweeted that the model will appear “probably ’21-ish,” according to comments made by Marchionne.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

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45 Comments on “Midsize Ram Pickup Coming to the U.S., Replaces a Mitsubishi-based Model Overseas...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    FCA is going to be waaay late getting into the game, especially if the Ranger is somehow not a disappointment.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Not in the global market.

      The US pickup market is becoming less relevant in the global market as global pickup sales surge beyond US sales.

      As important as Ford, GM and Ram are in the US they have little bearing on global pickups.

      Toyota, Izuzu and VW seem to set the benchmarks globally. Even the Ranger and under performing Colorado are more or less sold in the more mature global markets.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “global market as global pickup sales surge beyond US sales.”

        Source? Or just more made up nonsense.

        Ford sold 896,764 F-Series in 2017. Combined, Silverado and Sierra added another 803,807 sales. So, that’s 1,700,571 truck sales by Ford and GM, not including Colorado and Canyon.

        Hilux sold 521k globally, and that’s Toyota counting U.S. sales of the Tacoma.

        https://newsroom.toyota.co.jp/en/hilux50th/history/numbers.html

        So you’re telling me that Hilux compeditors, not including the Ford Ranger because Ford isn’t a player outside the U.S. (we’ll get to that in a minute), combined to surge past the 1,179,571 difference in sales, and that is not even including the RAM U.S. sales, or the GM Midsize in the U.S., or global Ford Ranger sales? Damn, hombre, those are some amazing numbers. Tell me, which one of them sold over 800k last year?

        Back to the Ford Ranger, is just behind the Hilux in sales in your homeland, and has been gaining well recently. Its so funny since Ford is not a player, as you said, outside the U.S.(where 900k is less than 500k, I guess). It handily outsells the others you mentioned.

        Oh yeah, tell me more about those Izuzus, and I’ll tell you about some Checys and Forfs.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          So where did you put Canadian pickup sales, John? I’d add them to rest of world – 155,290 F150; 55,096 Silverado; 61,833 Sierra; 98,645 RAM; and odds and ends of Canyons, Tacomas and Frontiers for another 30,000. Well over 400,000 more pickup sales last year have to be put in one slot or the other.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I didn’t, but since U.S. trucks dominate the Canadian market, I don’t see how they’d belong lumped in with Hilux sales in Pakistan and Nissan Navara sales in Malaysia.

            His contention is that U.S. (style) trucks are declining while global (style) trucks are “surging”. If anything, I should have combined U.S. and Canadian truck sales to paint an even worse picture, since Canada sources its trucks from us and they sell very well there as you pointed out.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Johnny,
          How many pickups are made in China? India? Sth Africa? Thailand? Argentina? EU? and on and on.

          The World is an amazing place that extends vast distances beyond the Lands of Maple Syrup and Enchiladas. And many of these places have potable water and free flowing electrons.

          Go back to Yokeltown West Virgina and tone it down or at least graduate from Elementary School level social science and geography.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “How many pickups are made in China? India? Sth Africa? Thailand? Argentina? EU? and on and on.”

            Don’t know, but it is less than the number made here. Again, the Ford F series which primarily sells only in North America remains the best selling vehicle in the entire world. You can poo poo this market all you want, but it remains the largest pickup market in the world.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Yep, just verified. Looking at 2017 numbers for the top selling vehicles globally, the F series was first, followed by the Silverado at 11 and the Ram at 14. Those are global numbers. No other pickups appear in the top 25. I think you underestimate the US pickup market.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      I think the principal markets they will be targeting are in south and central america, using the Fiat, not Ram brand.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Couldn’t they build this on the same frame and assembly line as the Jeep pickup? That seems to be the opportunity that makes sense. Change the nose, differentiate the cab and bed but use the same frame and underpinnings and i’m thinking they could make $$$$ even selling 40-50K/year.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    What they need to do is make a Hellcat engine R/T version or keep a Viper version with the V-10.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I am skeptical the North American market for smaller pickups is large enough for yet another contender.

    Let’s face it, while small pickup trucks are loved by their fans, there are not that many fans. From a value perspective, full-sized trucks offer plenty, and smaller trucks are not a whole lot less money to acquire, nor do they return much better MPG—yet offer substantially less utility. From my perspective, the value proposition just isn’t there.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      R Henry,
      The US can support a couple dozen brands of pickups. Here in Australia we have 15 brands with only a 25 million population. This doesn’t include US full size grey imports.

      The US needs to allow imported pickups in and produce exportable pickups to sate the global pickup explosion.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I agree with you 100% on the value proposition thing. However, the midsizers still have a substantial fanbase that is willing to pay for them. Might as well build and sell them.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Or occasionally you find a dealer that has a midsize on model year clearance. My GMC dealer still has two crew cab Canyons in stock and is willing to deal.

          My dentist drives a Canyon Denali crew cab 4×4, I should ask him what he traded in or if he has a small garage at home and really wanted his vehicle to be garage kept.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        The US and Australian light truck markets are not comparable, nor are the taxation and fuel cost scenarios.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          No, Henry, there is no difference in the markets, only a bunch of stupid Americans buying millions of trucks but are not true truck people, and smart Aussies that get 15 brands of SE Asian assembled trucks that are slower, not as roomy and have less capability yet cost as much but that’s because they’re real truck buyers and not posers.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          R Henry,
          We pay roughly similar amounts for fuel as Canada. Is the Canadian market similar to the US?

          As for the truck market you are correct. Australia tends to use trucks as opposed to pickups. But per capita well sell more pickups than the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Henry,
          As fot tax you are correct we have no tax and the US has a 25% import tax.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Don’t feel sorry for us. We have all of 7 brands, which most would say is plenty, except we have 5 (FIVE!) classes of pickups to pick from.

            That’s like 18 brand/classes, with more on the way, and not a crappy one in sight!

            15 choices is great and all, unless you need or want something other than a midsize Ute. Then you’re fully screwed. And who really buys pickups from China and India?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Wrong, there is a massive cost for a US built truck to be sold in your country and as one constantly complaining about how the US doesn’t follow global standards I’m surprised you just gloss over it. Call it the Right Hand Drive tax. How much does that conversion drive the cost up? Why not just let the customer choose if they want to sit on the wrong side lol.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        What we need is an updated Dodge D-50. A mini-RAM for the first-time truck buyers, college students and adventurous unmarried folk. (And marriage is getting less and less common, so that market segment is growing!) It’s just what 30-year-olds need to finally haul their stuff out of their parent’s basement to their new apartment.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          @RHD: There’s several people on this board that have been saying this for a while now. I’d propose we need a new Rampage (see Mexican RAM 700, same as the Fiat Strada in South American markets). Car-like proportions and handling but a decent sized bed so the kids can get all of their X-boxes out of my basement…

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I think the market can support another truck if its SMALL enough. Not sure about the new Ranger but GM twins are touch too big for me. Plus truck fans are famous for logos of Calvin taking a leak on other logos. Thus a Dodge guy ain’t buying no Ford or Chevy.

      I’m still waiting for viable replacement for my ’02 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab V8. It must fit in the garage and it will be used for boat towing duty. I owned a Ranger in the past so I’m interested in the new one. I’d prefer a used one to save some coin, thus the sooner it comes out the better to give me that 2-3 year cushion.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I don’t get the garage bit. You have people constantly griping that today’s trucks aren’t “real trucks” because leather seats, decent stereo, cruise, no 300 inline 6, blah blah blah, yet somehow those same people require said “real truck” to fit in the garage. It’s a truck…park it in the driveway…it’ll be fine.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I see this as primarily a global move by FCA and not a US focused decision.

    As FCA sees not so good results outside of Jeep and Ram FCA needs a global money earner. Since there is still almost unlimited expansion for global pickups FCA can produce an alternative money spinner of lower risk.

    I would like to see these made in America ….. but, the way in which the US vehicle industry is protected would make this almost unviable.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, building pickup trucks in America has never worked out for anyone.

      And since the fact that FCA is a global automaker and has talked endlessly about growing truck/utility vehicle sales globally, and that its unsuccessful Ram 1200 (built with a partner now married elsewhere) needs replaced, and that midsize truck sales in the U.S. remain a bit player compared to full-size, it absolutely astounds me that this is not a U.S.-focused decision. Your incredible insight knows no bounds, sir.

  • avatar
    brn

    Make it affordable (undercut a full size bye enough to make it a reasonable buying decision). Give it a decent towing capacity (around 6000lbs) without my having to add a jillion expensive options.

    THIS is why compact trucks should exist. Instead, we’re pushing for Raptor type vehicles. Cool and all, but it’s not where the market is.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I like the idea of a SMALL pickup with a 4-cyl / manual transmission versus a full-sized pickup with an under stress all-the-time 4-cyl and start/stop technology. I don’t like the start/stop technology. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that starting that much more often CAN’T be good for the starting system. Does it have to be replaced often ? What about the battery and charging system ? And I know that a 4-cyl CAN make 750 HP or more, like in the Indy Cars, but a 4-banger making even 300 HP requires more tech, tighter tolerances, and more cost than your every day banger. A smaller, lighter, pickup for light duty, requiring far less power, technology, and cost seems like the better solution. Everyone that buys a pickup does not need the power to tow 10,000 lbs., six people, and a bed full of gravel. Think 1973 Datsun 520 or early Dakota or Ranger, all of which I owned and liked.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      “scarey”,
      You sound new or are a novice here, judging by your comment.

      Output per litre is highly variable. The 2.7 or 3.5 Ecothirsts develop significant power per litre.

      Even the new 2 litre Ranger diesel is 210hp and 365ftlb of torque. V8 power from 30 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Scary, a properly implemented start stop system will have beefed up electronics, a specialized starter, and a deep cycle battery. It is, if properly implemented, quite robust.

      If you get a vehicle with a start stop system and disable it, you’ve an over-engineered starting system that will last longer than a typical vehicle.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Nice try. I was BANNED for longer than you have been on here. LOL

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “The U.S. will never be able to produce enough aircraft, tanks, ships, and ammunition for the Allied forces, it needs China and the global market” _ Big Al, 1941

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Sub-600,
      So, if US industry is attacked, who will the US rely on?

      Decentralisation of weapons manufacturing seems to be the best way of assurance of supply.

      I don’t understand why the US needs to control all, especially from a strategic perspective it’s not the best choice.

      So, Allies and friends are starting to look good, eh.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        The fact is that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans remain formidable military obstacles even for today’s military powers. That coupled with the fact that when it comes to expeditionary capability and the ability to project military power the US remains the predominant power. China is trying but at this time they’d be as foolhardy trying to fight a ear on us soil as we’d be fighting one on their soil (due to the manpower advantages).

        Our air and missile defenses are pretty good as well and while a massive first strike would do damage it is doubtful any power could destroy all of US manufacturing with the exception of course of a massive nuclear strike which of course unleashes way larger issues with the ensuing counterstrike, nuclear winter, and all that 80s end of the world stuff.

        In short, we will be fine.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Thanks Art.

          But we are talking about weapons manufacture.

          Weapons systems are highly deployable. Some even have the abilty to power themselves (motive force) ie, aircraft, tank, artillery, etc.

          Also most weapons can be easily transportable, even from to place of manufacture, rifle, bullet (round), even an aircraft carrier or ship can be produced across the world and has the ability to make its own way to its home port.

          Your comment makes as much sense as mine as to why the US needs all military industry.

          The US like all else needs alternatives.

          As for the Pacific and Atlantic. The US is slowly losing it dominance there. Not because the US military is weak, but others are catching up.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    One thing that would of forced FCA to move away from Mitsubishi. The sale of Mitsubishi to Nissan.

    Will Mitsubishi move to the D23 platform and drop the Triton in the near future?

    The current Navara is used by Reno, Nissan and Mercedes Benz.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Mitsubishi is developing replacement truck for Triton that is lower cost and slightly smaller than Navara. Triton and Navara will be sold by either or both Mitsubishi and Nissan depending on market.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Not in agreement with a me too midsize for U.S.A. and Canada. A compact truck is needed. Why not import the STRADA? Compact light utility with lower price and downsized expectations of capability.
    Please don’t import or base the new midsize on the Toro.


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