Report: Next Ram Dakota Could Become A Global Pickup

Speculation continues to fly over the successor to the now-discontinued Ram (formerly Dodge) Dakota. The latest report claims a future replacement could be engineered to be sold in markets outside of North America.

That’s not exactly unusual, but as Automotive News reports, it does differ from Chrysler’s original vision. As outlined in Chrysler’s product plan, which was unfurled in late 2009 after Fiat assumed control of the automaker, the Dakota successor was to be engineered and developed chiefly for North America by Chrysler’s engineering staff. Now, it appears the company is mulling expanding the pickup’s availability to other markets around the globe.

“It is something we are evaluating,” Ram brand CEO Fred Diaz recently told AN. “As a global organization, we are now starting to look at what we can bring to the market that would work in Europe, in Asia, in the U.S., and so forth, and get the platform right so that we can enjoy the economies of scale that come with that.”

Global sharing isn’t an idea new to Chrysler, especially since the company is now fairly well integrated with Fiat’s product, platform, and powertrain development. It isn’t a new idea to the world of midsize pickups, either. Chevrolet’s all-new Colorado, scheduled for a North American launch in 2012, was engineered in Brazil and will also be sold in Central America, Australia, and Asia. Ford’s latest Ranger is a similar affair, although the company is not planning on selling the vehicle in either the U.S. or Canada.

However, it could prove to be a new segment for Fiat, at the very least. Presently, the automaker doesn’t build such a vehicle, although it does sell the Strada – a small, inexpensive ute based off the aging Palio subcompact – in several countries.

In the meantime, there’s still plenty of debate as to what the next Dakota should be. Although Chrysler executives previously hinted strongly at the notion of a midsize unibody pickup, AN says Diaz indicated Chrysler is still evaluating both unibody and traditional body-on-frame designs.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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