By on September 18, 2018

1995 Dodge Dakota in Colorado Junkyard, fender badge - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

We’re playing a name game today, and as luck would have it, there’s no wrong answer to this question. As we’ve told you before, Ram has a midsize model on the way, ready to (eventually) do battle with Chevrolet’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma and Ford’s long-awaited-but-not-really-new Ranger. Yes, there’s other midsizers to contend with, too.

Plenty of mystery still surrounding this vehicle, but it’ll apparently appear in roughly two years’ time, suppliers say, and it’ll sport a frame, not a platform. What it doesn’t have right now is a name, or at least one that Fiat Chrysler’s willing to reveal. That’s where you come in.

Just a word of warning about one potential name, though…

If any of you wish to see a return of the truly awesome “Ramcharger” name, we regret to inform you that FCA US LLC just trademarked that moniker for use on an in-vehicle wireless phone charging device. It seems the automaker isn’t above using heritage model names on unlikely creations. Obviously, someone in Auburn Hills was hanging around with a bad influence from Ford.

Anyway, there’s a truck in need of a name here. Something rugged, something Manley manly, and something not so Southwestern in origin that people think it’s a Hyundai, sight unseen. “Dakota” remains an obvious choice — it’s rooted in Chrysler Corp truck history, never mind that the truck behind the script was a Dodge. But maybe Ram’s progressed too far as a brand to have that happen.

Dakota reminds people not only of a non-Ram brand, but of a model that withered, dried up, and blew away in the immediate aftermath of the recession. And, as we saw during the recent 2019 Ram 1500/Martin Luther King, Jr. ad kerfuffle, too many people still assume Ram is a model produced by Dodge, not a standalone brand. Resurrecting the Dakota name could just add more confusion. The move away from the signature crosshair grille was Ram’s way of severing the visual ties to its Dodge past and striking out on its own.

No, Dakota seems wrong, despite name recognition making it seem so right. (If you’re curious,  FCA renewed the Dakota trademark in 2009, and the earliest it can file for another renewal is November 7th of this year. The latest it can file is May 7th, 2020.)

Can’t say I find the removal of a zero from the Ram 1500’s name appropriate, either. Sure, the Ram 150 was a model designation once upon a time, but it resided on a full-size model. A Dodge model, to be sure. The full-sizer is now the 1500, and adding a 150 line, though numerically proper given the 1500’s larger size, would again create confusion — only this time among the Ram ranks.

What to do? For once, I’m at a loss for ideas. Can’t come up with a single name, though I’m sure if I looked at a map of the Great Plains long enough, I’d see a few knockouts.

So, it’s time to hand the levers of power and all the naming decisions that come with it to you, B&B. What should Ram call this truck?

[Image: ©2016 Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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