Ram Midsize Truck to Have “Very Different Mission" from Jeep Gladiator
CEO wants to bring Dakota successor to market soon.
Ram has done a masterful job of reinventing its full-size trucks, surpassing Chevrolet to become the second bestseller in the category during the first quarter of 2019. Now it's time for Ram to start making up ground in the midsize pickup segment. To that end, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley said Ram is focused on a midsize truck, reports Automotive News. But finding the right platform has been difficult. "Being able to find a cost-effective platform in a region where we can build it with low cost and it still being applicable in the market is what they're struggling with at the moment," Manley said. "I want that problem solved, frankly, because it's a clear hole in our portfolio."
He also stressed that the Jeep Gladiator will not fill the hole, saying it has a "very, very different mission" than would the Ram truck. Could this mean a less niche truck with a lower starting price than the $35,040 Jeep? We'll have to wait and see. "Trust me, they're focused on it," Manley said of a Ram midsizer. "We need to get it fixed soon."
In February, we learned FCA was still considering whether to approve production of a midsize pickup. It had been promised in FCA's five-year plan that outlines products coming through 2022. We had heard the truck will share underpinnings with Jeep's midsize truck. The last midsize pickup offered by FCA was the 2011 Dodge Dakota. When Ram finally makes a new midsize truck, it will have plenty of rivals, including the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, and the resurrected Ford Ranger.
Manley also said the Ram Classic isn't leaving the lineup anytime soon. The model, a version of the previous-generation Ram 1500 sold alongside the new 2019 model, lures in buyers who want less expensive work trucks. Those pickups also help bring in government and commercial sales.