The 50-50 all stock based merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot S.A. is one of the biggest moves in the modern history of the auto industry. The two companies are gargantuan in their own right before this merger, which now has them standing as the fourth largest automaker in the world. While this deal might mean that Peugeot products will hit American soil before their original 2026 estimate, it may put the plans of the upcoming Ram midsize truck, presumed to be called the Dakota, in a state of flux.
While FCA currently doesn’t offer a mid-size Ram pickup in the United States, the company does sell a rebranded Mitsubishi L200 as the Fiat Fullback and Ram 1200 in other markets. The need for a metric-ton midsize truck in the brand’s global line-up is undeniable, as full-size American trucks simply don’t work in much of the old world.
Meanwhile, Peugeot currently sells a mid-size truck in the African market, by way of a deal with Chinese automaker Dongfeng. Another Chinese automaker, Changan, had a deal with PSA to develop a mid-size truck for the global market, but as of last month, Changan announced it will dissolve its partnership with the French company. So the idea that a Ram truck will somehow come by way of a failed French-Chinese partnership is just absurd, as one outlet speculates.
During a May 2019 earnings call, months before the merger announcement, FCA CEO Mike Manley touched on the struggles the company is having with developing a Ram mid-size truck.
“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,” he said. The company stated in its latest five-year plan that it will launch a Ram mid-size truck by 2022, although products outlined in plans such as these never end up seeing the light of day.
It is possible, and most likely, that both mid-size trucks will be produced and sold in separate markets. That being said, there is no guarantee that either truck will be slated to come to the United States regardless of which one makes it into production. The mid-size truck market is seeing a resurgence here in the ‘States, so the total absence of a Ram product in the segment does seem out of place, considering GM kicked off this freshening up of the segment in 2014 with the much improved Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
FCA does sell the Jeep Gladiator mid-size truck here, and it is possible that this JT platform could serve as the base for a smaller Ram on this side of the pond, which would likely end up being more of a work-ready truck to the Jeep’s lifestyle appeal. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see what comes to fruition.
Place your bets!