This trademark patent filing says it all.
There was a time when Ford and Dodge (now Ram trucks) considered mid-size pickup trucks to be a dying breed in America. Japanese brands like Toyota and Nissan never went along with this and GM proved its Detroit rivals wrong with the huge success of the latest generation Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. Today, the Ford Ranger is alive and well again, but what about a Ram competitor? The Jeep Gladiator doesn't appeal to all FCA customers.
We've previously reported Ram is planning a mid-size truck revival that's expected to share its basic architecture with the Gladiator though it'll have a far more conventionally styled exterior design. A 2021 targeted reveal is still planned as far as we know, but what will the truck be called? There's an obvious answer here and now it seems we have proof.
Late last week, FCA filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the "Dakota" nameplate.
The Dodge Dakota was the brand's midsize truck built from 1986 through 2011. Now that FCA has reassigned all of its trucks to the Ram division, it's fair to assume a Ram Dakota is on the way. There have been reports in recent months of FCA testing heavily disguised prototypes around the Detroit metro area. While the trucks were roughly the same size as the Gladiator, they were something else entirely.
If the reborn Dakota is, in fact, sharing the Gladiator's platform, some alterations can be expected. Although this has yet to be confirmed, the new truck could have a lighter frame and a different suspension.
This would make it a more everyday vehicle as opposed to the Gladiator being a lifestyle vehicle aimed at off-road enthusiasts. Chances are, the new Dakota will also be built alongside the Gladiator on the same production line in Toledo, Ohio. To help save costs, it'll likely come powered by the Jeep's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6.
With this trademark filing, FCA is closer than ever to bringing back a much-loved nameplate that could also provide truck lovers a less expensive alternative to the typically pricey Gladiator.