A New, Smaller Ram Pickup Will Emerge From Ohio's Jeep Wrangler Plant: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

If true, it’s news that should bring a smile to a certain American president’s face. Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex, home to the current Jeep Wrangler JL and its upcoming long-wheelbase pickup variant, will become the assembly site of a new, midsize Ram pickup, a report claims.

The new Ram model, which apparently eschews unibody construction in favor of rugged (and traditional) body-on-frame architecture, doesn’t have a name, but at least it now has a tentative home.

Automotive News claims supplier sources point to Toledo as the birthplace of the new Ram, which some Ram diehards feel simply must carry the Dakota name. After retooling the Toledo North plant for production of the current-generation Wrangler JL, FCA pulled the plug on production of the older Wrangler KJ in April of this year. The retooling of the Toledo South plant for JL pickup production is nearly complete.

However, as Automotive News points out, the expected volume of Wrangler pickups is nowhere near the output of Wrangler JKs, leaving plenty of unused capacity. Given the product shuffling seen over the past couple of years, FCA’s potential choices for a production site are extremely limited. Toledo has the space, and the ability to handle body-on-frame products. A shoe-in, it seems.

CEO Mike Manley, then head of FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, didn’t give many details on the new model after its announcement in the automaker’s five-year product plan in June. The vehicle will be mid-sized, he said, and will appear before 2022. Supplier sources claim the model’s on track for a 2020 launch as a 2021 model year vehicle.

At the time of the plan’s unveiling, David Elshoff, head of Ram brand communications, confirmed to TTAC that FCA intends to bring the midsize truck to America. The new model will replace the body-on-frame Fiat Fullback in overseas markets, he said, adding that the Mitsubishi Triton/L200-based pickup apparently produced “inconsequential” sales.

While it may not have been the automaker’s chief motivation for the new baby Ram, Ford’s looming entry into the North American midsize pickup market would have left FCA as the only “trucky” OEM without a product in the segment.

[Image: RL GNZLZ/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Johnster Johnster on Sep 17, 2018

    It's about time. This sounds great, and no, it doesn't need a V8 and it doesn't need a Hemi. I suppose that the sad and underwhelming Tigershark 2.4 will be the base engine. On the other hand, the 3.6 Liter Pentastar V6 and the 3.0 Liter EcoDiesel V6 would be great as optional engines.

    • See 2 previous
    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Sep 23, 2018

      @ajla Aside from the Shelby model, the *original* original Dakota offered no V8s until the 1991 facelift extended the hood. In 1987, its shtick was not "small pickup with a V8," but rather "small pickup with a 4 x 8' bed." In terms of both displacement and power, its engines were roughly on par with those of the Ranger and S-10 before the V8.

  • Here4aSammich Here4aSammich on Sep 17, 2018

    “FCA pulled the plug on production of the older Wrangler KJ in April of this year. The retooling of the Toledo South plant for JL pickup production is nearly complete.” Apparently there are no adults fact checking the interns... The old Wrangler was the JK, not the KJ.

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