The ever-increasing demand for trucks is forcing FCA to return to the midsize truck segment.
We can’t call it the Dodge Dakota just yet but FCA would be nuts if they slapped any other name on their upcoming new midsize pickup. According to Automotive News, FCA CEO Mike Manley said that they are hard at work figuring out how to build a cost-effective truck.
The last Dakota left the assembly line in 2011 after quite successfully filling the gap between the compact and full-size pickups. At the time, compact trucks were slowly dying off and the large ones had reached a point where entry-level models retailed for barely more than the others.
Manley said: “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. I want that problem solved, frankly, because it’s a clear hole in our portfolio. It will not be filled by Gladiator because Gladiator is a very, very different mission. Trust me, they’re focused on it. We need to get it fixed soon.”
What about the Jeep Gladiator?
Thoughts were that the new Jeep Gladiator could fill this gap below the RAM 1500 but we have to agree with Manley. The Jeep is hardcore and capable but not exactly the work-tool that true pickup consumers want, and need.
The pressure is on in the segment and coming from many directions. The new Toyota Tacoma is forthcoming, the Ford Ranger is hot, the GM twins are convincing many to convert to smaller trucks, there’s also a new Nissan Frontier in the pipeline and finally, Volkswagen and Hyundai want to join in the sandbox.
We think the Dakota is a must as truck buyers will instantly recognize it for what it is. Any other name will see the truck potentially be lost among the established and newly minted favorites.