Years of on-again, off-again rumors about the addition of a baby Ram truck to Fiat Chrysler’s product line has led us to this day. While the automaker’s Capital Markets Day presentation in Italy focused primarily on Jeep and the two Italian luxury divisions — three of the four global brands highlighted in its five-year plan — Ram sees new product, too, including a midsize truck.
CEO Sergio Marchionne wants its core brands spread as far and wide as possible, and that means occupying new segments. For Ram, this means the large off-road truck niche and the growing midsize market. “We’re working on it,” is what Marchionne said two years ago after being asked about a midsize Ram.
FCA had kiboshed the idea in 2015, claiming that developing a new midsize would prove too costly. And yet here we are.
In this morning’s presentation, the only mention of the truck was its inclusion in a product chart. It’s listed as “new mid-size/metric ton,” and FCA says it will appear before the plan’s five-year window ends in 2022.
Ram brand boss Mike Manley wasn’t forthcoming with a predicted launch date during the presentation, nor would he say whether the model would resurrect the Dakota name. (The automaker’s last domestic midsize truck disappeared from the market after 2011.) Initially, what with so much talk of global markets and so little mention of the new model, there was some confusion as to whether the U.S. would see the truck at all.
When contacted by TTAC, David Elshoff, head of Ram brand communications, confirmed that Marchionne intends to bring the midsize truck to America. According to Elshoff, Ram brand boss Mike Manley claims the new model will replace the body-on-frame Fiat Fullback in overseas markets. The Fullback, based on the Mitsubishi Triton/L200, apparently produced “inconsequential” sales.
The replacement of the Fullback by the unnamed Ram (it’ll carry a different badge in other markets) jibes with what Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive reported via Twitter. The new truck “is expected to be more important for global sales than for US sales,” she said.
Certainly, the North American and overseas markets are polar opposites when it comes to truck size preference (and availability). Given the upcoming addition of the Ford Ranger in the domestic market and the continued success of the Toyota Tacoma and General Motors twins, a new Ram makes sense, but it only makes financial sense as a global product.
Paul Eisenstein of The Detroit Bureau tweeted that the model will appear “probably ’21-ish,” according to comments made by Marchionne.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler]