During an interview last week, Dodge chief Reid Bigland said that the Dodge Dakota replacement slated for 2016 had been cancelled again. Rumored since we first broke the news in 2007, this lighter-duty small pickup, fitting somewhere between Fiat Strada and Ram 1500, was to see duty around the world as a European-standard metric-ton pickup, filling a hole in both Ram and Fiat product plans. The two companies’ long-term plans both have a position for a new, Chrysler-initiated truck.
At one point, the Windsor Star reported that the truck was to be made at the Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, based on the new minivan chassis.
When we asked then-chief of Ram Truck about the “lifestyle Dakota,” he said that research had pointed to a vehicle that was:
… capable, but not as capable as a full size Ram. People want to be able to take cargo, with a reasonable payload, and people, with high mpg, reasonably priced. The Dakota is so capable, pricing bumps against the light duty [Ram 1500]. We don’t want confusion.
We asked about whether Ram was looking at a compact pickup, the size of the current Ranger. Mr. Diaz said, “We are only looking at a Dakota replacement.” The same people tend to cross shop both compact and midsized trucks, including Ranger, Tacoma, Ridgeline, and Dakota. (Full interview)
It is possible that Mr. Bigland did not mean to imply that there was no upcoming compact Ram, but that a technical replacement for Dakota — a mid-sized Ram — is not on the schedule, but a compact truck not named Dakota — could still be there.
In related notes, a next-generation Fiat Strada light pickup is being tested. Strada would be a lighter-duty vehicle than the metric-ton pickup that has been rumored for the last few years.