It was dead a few years ago, but now the midsize truck segment is quite lively indeed. The recently redesigned Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, and upcoming 2017 Honda Ridgeline are all competing for buyers carmakers didn’t seem to know existed even a short while ago.
Noticeably absent from the party is Ram, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand that sells nothing but trucks. Ram hasn’t offered a midsize truck since the Dakota was discontinued in 2011, but now the brand sees an “opportunity” in that field again, Mike Manley, boss of both Ram and Jeep, said in an interview with The Detroit News at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Manley wouldn’t confirm a smaller Ram pickup, but said the model could generate sales both here and abroad. In the U.S., it could get Ram a slice of the reanimated midsize truck market, and it could also help the brand fulfill orders from FCA management to concentrate on overseas expansion. Smaller trucks are more popular in markets that Ram is trying to expand in, such as South America.
Bob Hegbloom, former head of Ram and now boss of Ram International, is heading to Brazil to discuss cooperation with Fiat, which already sells small trucks there and in other markets. Manley said one possibility is that Ram will sell a truck based on a Fiat platform. Ram already sells Fiat-based ProMaster and ProMaster City vans in the U.S., so why not import a truck too?
One of the main obstacles to a new Ram midsize truck might actually be internal. Jeep is expected to launch a Wrangler-based pickup truck in the near future that would be close in size to a potential smaller Ram truck. Recently, FCA has tried to keep its many brands from overlapping too much, as there’s always the possibility that duplicate models will steal sales from each other.
On the other hand, FCA seems to have gone truck crazy with recent revisions to its current five-year plan. The company looks set to focus more on trucks and SUVs, and in that climate it’s possible a Ram midsize truck will indeed get the green light.