New information has come to light.
The midsize truck segment is alive and well thanks to the combined popularity of the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and the just-revealed all-new Nissan Frontier. The Jeep Gladiator, though similar in size, is somewhat more niche. For that reason, there have been reports for quite some time about a Dodge Dakota revival, only now it'd be a Ram truck. A Gladiator-based Ram Dakota was supposedly part of Fiat Chrysler's upcoming product line, but the automaker has since merged with the PSA Groupe to become Stellantis.
The new automaker is currently reviewing FCA's previous plans and last month we learned the reborn Dakota had been canceled. Or has it?
Automotive News now claims it has been directly told by a Stellantis source the Dakota project is still moving forward. No other details were given but if this is indeed the reality, it's still reasonable to assume it'll share the Gladiator's architecture. There's just one problem with that: the segment is already saturated; Ram is late to the party.
Ford is already working on the next-generation Ranger and updates are coming soon for the GM trucks and the Tacoma. But this doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity for Stellantis here. These latest midsize trucks are larger than their predecessors.
Like nearly all new vehicles these days, they're just getting bigger and bigger. Hyundai, for example, has taken note with its upcoming Santa Cruz, which will be a bit smaller than others. Ford has come to the same conclusion, hence the 2022 Maverick. Instead of the reborn Dakota being a direct Ranger rival, perhaps it should face off against the Maverick and Santa Cruz.
Stellantis refuses to comment on any future product plans but we would not be surprised to learn the automaker is rethinking the Dakota entirely based on the fast emerging new compact truck segment. This is purely speculation on our part but a smaller, still highly capable resurrected Dakota could be exactly what Stellantis is looking for.