Stellantis has other plans in mind?
Ever since the arrival of the reborn Ford Ranger there have been reports here and there Ram also intends to re-enter the midsize truck segment. The Dodge Dakota was discontinued in 2011 following a nearly 25-year production run, and Ram, now the official truck brand, wants in on the action and profit. The Jeep Gladiator is officially classified as a midsize, but its styling is not for everyone. A more conventional design offering would only broaden Ram's appeal. Or would it?
GM Authority is now claiming "sources from within Stellantis" indicate the Dakota project has been canceled. No other details have been provided, so this should be taken with a grain of salt for the time being.
We've reached out to Stellantis seeking comment and we'll update this space if a relevant response is received. Stellantis is the world's newest and fourth-largest automaker, a merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Groupe. The merger was completed last month and since then CEO Carlos Tavares has been re-examining all upcoming product plans with a magnifying lens.
He has a reputation for cost-cutting and if it is determined the automaker can get by without a more traditionally styled midsize truck, then so be it. The Gladiator, however, isn't going anywhere and its importance may only increase. Time will tell.
Although trucks and SUVs account for a significant chunk of profit, Stellantis needs to expedite electric vehicle plans, especially following big EV-related announcements from GM and Ford. The reported original plan for a new Dakota was quite simple: utilize the Gladiator platform and powertrain, meaning a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive would be optional, and the 3.0-liter V6 diesel might have also been possible.
If the decision has been made to drop the Dakota program, there are still plenty of excellent midsize trucks on the market. In addition to the Ranger and Gladiator, there's the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, Toyota Tacoma, and the recently revealed all-new Nissan Frontier.