Perhaps to its misfortune, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles does not sell a midsize pickup in the world’s biggest truck market, but buyers in certain overseas markets were able to get into a four-door, body-on-frame midsizer carrying the Fiat badge — the Fullback, more properly described as a rebadged Mitsubishi Triton/L200.
Note the word “were.” The Fiat Fullback is no more, according to FCA’s light commercial vehicles division. The discontinuation stems from the same problem Fiat faces in America: really bad sales.
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.
Is there a chance that a leadership change at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported by Automotive News could lead to an often-speculated new pickup truck?
Jeep’s longtime director Jim Morrison is leaving that post to head the Ram pickup and commercial vehicle division, replacing Bob Hegbloom, who is leaving for the global shores of Ram International.
Ram and Jeep are by far FCA’s biggest moneymakers these days, and under Morrison’s watch the Jeep brand took on new prominence by expanding its range of models, even if it meant adopting architecture sourced from (sacrilege!) Fiat.
The news of Morrison’s switch to Ram raises the question, “Is this the person who will take the Ram brand in a smaller direction?”
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