There are some rumours that come back so often they’re like the boy that cried wolf – you just stop paying attention. Take the one, for example, that has Ram possibly bringing back a midsize pickup to its lineup.
Back in 2019, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Group boss Mike Manley suggested the idea; the following year, the company re-registered the trademark for the Dakota nameplate.
And that of course happens to be the last mid-size pickup to inhabit the Ram lineup. The Dakota was discontinued at the end of 2011.
The latest round of speculation sprouted after Ram boss Mike Koval Jr. said he wants to show dealers what a new midsize pickup might look like, starting in March. The goal will be to gauge their interest, but we can already guess that it will be high, considering the popularity of the segment and the profit margins it generates.
Will we see a prototype in shell form or a computer-designed model? Remains to be seen.
The midsize pickup truck segment has grown quickly since GM returned to the segment in 2015. The category is still dominated by the Toyota Tacoma, ahead of the Chevrolet Colorado (which also has a twin, the GMC Canyon). Nissan has a new Frontier recently introduced. Then there’s the Ford Ranger, and if you stretch the definition of the genre, the Honda Ridgeline, built on a unibody chassis. Don’t forget the Jeep Gladiator, within the Stellantis group itself.
Koval Jr. told Automotive News magazine, as recently as the Detroit Auto Show two weeks ago: “We’ve always said we know that on a global basis, probably the biggest area, the biggest white space opportunity for our brand to grow, has been the midsize pickup. We’re looking at it, believe me, I am. We’ll see, but I am thinking about bringing it and giving our dealers a sneak peek.”
Within Stellantis, the issue of a new model competing internally with the Jeep Gladiator has been raised, but clearly a new Ram truck would be aimed at a different audience. Bringing back a Ram Dakota at the same time as the Gladiator two years ago would have been a bad idea, but that’s not necessarily so now.
And, while no mention has been made of electrification, it's easy to imagine a model offering an electric version, especially since the Ram 1500, the brand's full-size pickup, will come in an all-electric configuration starting in 2024.