Midsize Pickup From Ram Could Fill Void in FCA Portfolio
It appears that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) – the automaker that’s been a leader in the industry shift to SUVs and pickups – has somewhat of a hole in its portfolio. FCA is just now (May 2019) entering the midsize pickup segment with the Jeep Gladiator, but the segment is picking up steam and is rumored to be the next frontrunner of the existing truck wars. Will FCA continue to fill the hole? Apparently, Ram is looking to fill the hole with what used to be a Dodge Dakota.
No word on whether the nameplate will be revived under Ram Trucks, but the way the market is saturated with nostalgia suggests that the possibility of using the Dakota nameplate is a good bet. The Dakota could easily make a comeback if FCA takes its cues from crosstown rival Ford that recently brought back the Ford Ranger. Mike Manley, FCA’s CEO, recently explained on the company’s first-quarter earnings call that the company is focused on finding a solution to its midsize pickup problem. “It’s a clear hole in our portfolio,” Manley stated. Additionally, Manley also noted that the midsize pickup segment represents not only an area of opportunity but also a big part of FCA’s desired growth.
Although we mentioned earlier that FCA has a recent entrant into the midsize pickup segment, Manley was clear that the all-new Jeep Gladiator is suited for a more unconventional midsize trucking experience. According to the VP of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions – Sam Fiorani – the Gladiator is more of a lifestyle pickup rather than a traditional pickup because it’s targeting the people who buy Wranglers but are looking for a bit more room when they hit the open road. Statistics indicate that midsize pickup sales are slated to increase a whopping 50 percent by 2023 – it’s easy to see why FCA is interested in bringing a midsize pickup to the segment.
What’s the big deal about the midsize pickup and why do experts think it’s making a comeback? Well, experts believe that buyers are interested in midsize trucks because midsize trucks offer the same hauling benefits as bigger trucks but at a significantly cheaper cost. FCA is in an awkward position because they used to manufacture a true midsize truck – the aforementioned Dodge Dakota – up until 2011 when the company discontinued it after making the big switch from Dodge to Ram in 2009. Ram was determined to grow on its own as a truck brand and decided that the continuation of the Dakota would cut into its full-size pickup sales and subsequently ceased its manufacture.
For the time being, new production space will be hard to find as FCA is in the middle of its ambitious five-year electrification plans, but experts believe that Ram could deliver a midsize pickup by the end of 2021. Fiorani implied that the future midsize truck could share not only the same platform as the Jeep Gladiator but also its Toledo plant where the Gladiator is built. Even though the Ram 1500 Classic remains in production as the automaker shifts to the all-new Ram 1500, a midsize pickup would be the perfect replacement when the time comes.
Explore the existing Ram lineup at University Dodge. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hauler like the all-new Ram 1500 in its high-tier trims or something more along the lines of a workhorse like the heavy-duty Ram 2500 lineup, University Dodge has you covered. Got any questions? Reach out to us via University Dodge social media.
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