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.
Dodge and SRT are rejoining the Trans Am Series, with Miller Racing fielding two new Dodge Challengers at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15 and 16. Driving will be four-time series champion Tommy Kendall, making his first Trans Am start since 2004 in the TA2 series class. The cars appear to be driven by 5.7 liter Hemi engines. [...]
Though the Ram 1500 just had major upgrades, another refresh is due in 2017, to deal with the new F-150s and a possible Chevrolet Silverado update. So far not much is known about these trucks, except that they will likely include the Pentastar engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have undergone weight reduction therapy [...]
With the supercharged 6.2 Hemi delivering 707 horsepower to the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper boys are reportedly looking for ways to get back on top. While the Viper may be superior on a tight racing course, the straight-line performance of Charger and Challenger, in five-seaters with all the amenities, large trunks, and automatic or manual transmissions, is a challenge for Team [...]
Artist suzq044 has provided an alternative view of what the 2017 Ram may look like. This refresh will counter new F-150s. The trucks will almost certainly include the V6 engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have more high-strength steel and aluminum to cut weight. The 2017 Ram is also likely to have aerodynamic improvements to increase highway [...]
It has been years since Allpar first reported on the future launch of a new Jeep Wagoneer, and the dropping of the Dodge Caravan. With Wagoneer on the books, Chrysler planners may have had mixed feelings about the sudden success of the Dodge Durango. They wanted to drop the Durango for a more-profitable Wagoneer (essentially a Durango with the Grand Cherokee suspension design [...]