Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has long been rumored to be considering a new mid-size pickup. Now we have word that plans are moving ahead, and that it’ll be a proper body-on-frame truck to be built alongside the forthcoming Jeep Wrangler-based pickup.
According to Autonews, FCA is planning to build the new truck at the sprawling Toledo complex where it makes the Wrangler – and, tellingly, once produced the Dodge Dakota.
It’s a segment that’s picking up steam again, populated by models like the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and the returning Ford Ranger. The Pentastar automaker last competed in the segment with the Dakota (pictured) – originally sold as a Dodge, then briefly as a Ram after the brand was spun-off into its own – until the model was discontinued in 2011 amid the bankruptcy that lead to Fiat taking over.
The news effectively ends the speculation that FCA could instead challenge the segment with a version of the car-based unibody ute sold as the Fiat Strada in some markets and as the Ram 700/750 in Mexico. Honda similarly took a more conventional truck-like approach with the launch of the second-generation Ridgeline two years ago, but stuck with crossover-like unibody construction.
The new mid-size Ram could revive the Dakota nameplate or go with another, possibly numeric designation to slot in under the Ram 1500 full-size light-duty truck. Whatever it’s called, we’re expecting it to launch in 2020 as a 2021 model – around the same time as the Wrangler-based pickup (anticipated to be called the Scrambler) arrives.