Thinking Caps On: Before Buyers Get Their Hands on It, Ram's Midsize Pickup First Needs a Platform

thinking caps on before buyers get their hands on it rams midsize pickup first

Fiat Chrysler remains adamant that its new Jeep Gladiator won’t be its only midsize pickup truck, but consumers had best hunker down for a wait. While the company announced the development of a conventional midsizer in last year’s five-year product plan, the new offering won’t appear until the end of that window.

Between now and 2022, CEO Mike Manley and the team at Ram must find a way to offer a midsize pickup at a price point designed to woo Colorado, Ranger, and Tacoma intenders. First on the to-do list is finding a platform.

As reported by Automotive News, Manley said a midsize truck — referred to as a “metric ton” truck in the company’s product plans — is “a big part of the portfolio and growth we want to achieve.”

The plan is to chase a sticker price safely in the comfort range of midsize buyers, with Manley mentioning that the Gladiator is an entirely different beast targeting a different type of buyer. A base Gladiator Sport starts at a tick over $35k.

“Being able to find a cost-effective platform in a region where we can build it with low cost and it still being applicable in the market is what they’re struggling with at the moment,” Manley said during last week’s earnings call. “I want that problem solved, frankly, because it’s a clear hole in our portfolio. It will not be filled by Gladiator because Gladiator is a very, very different mission. Trust me, they’re focused on it. We need to get it fixed soon.”

Sourcing a platform is Job One, but Job Two is finding somewhere to build the truck. A report from September suggested the pickup would call Toledo, Ohio home, rolling out of the same complex as the Gladiator. However, the original product plan, plus Manley’s recent comments, point in the opposite direction of the Gladiator’s lengthened Wrangler Unlimited frame — and Ohio in general.

The midsize Ram was expected to take up space vacated by the next-generation Ram Heavy Duty line at FCA’s Saltillo, Mexico assembly plant, though February’s U.S. plant investments complicated matters. According to FCA, the Ram HD will now continue production in Saltillo, with the company’s Warren Truck plant set aside for Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer assembly.

As buyers with fond memories of the Dodge Dakota await the upcoming pickup, Ram’s 1500 Classic continues in service as a lower-priced alternative to the brand’s new 1500 line. Earlier this year, the automaker said Classic production is being “extended to meet market demand.”

[Image: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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  • DenverMike DenverMike on May 06, 2019

    It needs to piggyback/share the new Ram 1500 platform. And are they insane? Where's their fullsize SUV? All should be on the same platform, including a BOF Durango. All should have a V8 option too, even if not Hemis. This should be FCA's main focus. Jeeps and Hellcats are awesome, but not everyone's into them.

    • See 14 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on May 07, 2019

      @highdesertcat Vulpine, my best friend pretty much said the same thing after he retired his '93 S-10 recently. The new GM midsizers ARE impressive! Rear Disc brakes, for starters! The V6 is no slouch and the automatic tranny is smoother than before. I'm trying to steer my BF toward a Tundra 5.7L and he wants to, but his wife favors the 2019 Silverado 4dr 4x4 LT/RST/LTZ in Silver Ice. While a midsize would probably meet all his needs and then some, this being the last vehicle he'll purchase in his lifetime, he's willing to go fullsize, half-ton. Doesn't care about the engine size as long as it comes with Cruise Control, for loooooooong-distance driving cross-country. Tacoma is very popular in this area, as they are in most places across the US of A, but that Alzheimer Atkinson turns a lot of people off. Then again, so does the auto start/stop of the Silverado.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 06, 2019

    Yeah, right. I used to think it was a niche within a niche, but the proliferation of signs on front lawns in my subdivision "Wanted V8 midsize pickup" have convinced me you're correct.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 06, 2019

      I've seen those signs too! Everyone in my condo complex is looking for one.

  • Dukeisduke It needs some steelies and 1966 full wheelcovers. I guess somebody like Detroit Steel could whip up the six-lug steelies.
  • KevinB Because they sell every EV they make, and most of the time you need to be on a list to get one. That's why the cost of them isn't going down.
  • Oberkanone Cost of EV's will continue to increase as demand for materials to manufacture batteries increases. Owning a personal vehicle will only be attainable to the wealthy.
  • Kcflyer I think it's ugly. Unless they lengthened the cab the back row is still useless for me anyway. Price is proof that I may have purchased my last new vehicle
  • Ltcmgm78 I must laugh because this is an expansion of the old question of why car manufacturers don't build less expensive cars. There's no money in it! As long as virtue signalers have the long green to buy the pricier EVs, there won't be any affordable ones until most of the demand for the expensive ones are met. Economics, you know. New technologies always progress this way. The future Chevy Vega on the Ultium platform is a long way off.