Will their wish be granted?
Ever since the arrival of the reborn Ford Ranger, the midsize pickup truck segment has heated up in America. The Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon previously dominated here, but the Ranger's arrival shook things up a bit. Has Ram taken notice? We've previously heard rumors Ram is, indeed, developing a midsize pickup of its own, possibly to share the same platform underpinning the Jeep Gladiator. We've also heard a downsized version of the Ram 1500 architecture could happen. One thing is for certain, however: Ram dealers are practically begging the automaker to make this truck happen.
Speaking to Automotive News, chairman of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles National Dealer Council, Phil Bivens, could not have been made his reborn Dakota desire any more clear.
"I haven't seen anything in the product portfolio that suggests that it might be coming, but just like with heavy-duty, not everyone wants a big truck like that. Not everyone needs that full truck. Then you talk about the 1500, those are still big rigs. With city driving and things, I would love a midsize truck. Would be crazy not to want it."
For now, the Jeep Gladiator does provide FCA with at least something to sell in the midsize truck category, though there are a few drawbacks, namely that it's styling is not for traditional truck buyers and it's expensive. The last time Dodge/Ram sold a midsize pickup was back in 2011, the year the Dakota was discontinued.
Bivens' claim that he's unaware of such a new truck in the pipeline contrasts with an earlier report we had claiming the reborn Dakota will arrive by 2022 and will be built on a new global truck platform co-developed by Peugeot and Chinese automaker Changan. The upcoming FCA-PSA merger is what could make that possible. But for now, it seems like FCA is not telling its US dealer network any concrete details.
In the meantime, the best Ram dealers can do is try to convince customers to drive home in a new Ram 1500 or Jeep Gladiator. Either truck is better than seeing people head over to the competition.