Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand has made strides in recent years when it comes to sales success, largely thanks to its truck’s capabilities and amenities. Despite this growing market share, Ram is the only major player in the truck segment here in the United States that is not offering a midsize pickup in their lineup. According to a report from Automotive News, Ram dealers are starting to put pressure on FCA to give them a midsize pickup truck, presumed to be called the Ram Dakota.
Ford, Chevrolet and GMC have all recently added a smaller truck to their own lineups, by way of the Ranger and the Canyon/Colorado twins. Other key players in the truck landscape such as Toyota and Nissan never abandoned their midsize offerings, which continue to hold on to a devoted fan base. FCA has entered the fray with the Jeep Gladiator, but it seems that customers really just want the loaded-out Rubicon model, as the entry level variants have already been deeply incentivized. In other words, there’s a space in the market for a more utilitarian Ram Dakota.
So what has kept Ram from offering something below the increasingly popular full-size 1500 models?
It’s not that Ram hasn’t thought about bringing a new truck to the market. In the company’s most recent five-year plan, they clearly intended to produce a midsize Ram by the 2022 model year, though as we reported in December, FCA has found the economics of such an undertaking to be challenging. And just because the truck was placed on that plan does not mean that it will ever come to fruition, as so often is the case with this sort of thing.
The sales success of the current crop of midsize trucks has to have crossed Ram dealers minds. With the footprint of full-size trucks ballooning after every generation, they have simply become too big for many buyers. Even smaller options like the Chevy Colorado rival the size of larger trucks from only a decade ago. According to Phil Bivens, chairman of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles National Dealer Council, this is exactly why Ram should have a midsize truck of their own.
“I haven’t seen anything in the product portfolio that suggests that it might be coming, but just like with heavy-duty, not everyone wants a big truck like that,” said Bivens in an interview with Automotive News. “Not everyone needs that full truck. Then you talk about the 1500, those are still big rigs. With city driving and things, I would love a midsize truck. Would be crazy not to want it.”
From a price perspective, Ram offers the 1500 Classic and Warlock. The truck is the last-generation Ram 1500 sold alongside today’s Ram 1500, but for an MSRP of roughly $5,000 less than the newer model, at $27,945. That’s price competitive with trucks such as the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado WT Crew Cab with a four cylinder engine ($29,795).