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.
We may have the first clear 2017 Chrysler Town & Country minivan spy shots, adding to a small “phone pic” shot posted some time ago. The vehicle, parked with the Chrysler Technical Center in sight, has camouflage and padding, but you can clearly see the openings for the side and front door handles. The photo gives some idea of the relatively length [...]
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has long expressed his desire to slash the number of Fiat and Chrysler platforms, emulating Volkswagen’s “back to the future” move of putting just about everything onto a single platform. Mr. Marchionne has allowed major exceptions; the combination of an over-ambitious plan and a grip on reality delayed the Jeep Renegade and some other cars, because the [...]
The Ram 1500 faced down the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and new Chevrolet Silverado in Motor Trend’s half-ton truck shootout. The three contenders were put through a broad array of testing, including a 260-mile drive through California and Arizona. Measurements included: Testing without load: 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip (Ram was Limits-handling without load: closed-course cornering, braking, [...]
This year’s winners of the prestigious Ward’s Top Ten were (in alphabetical order) the BMW 5-series electric motor, the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat V8, the Ford Fiesta three-cylinder, one-liter turbo, Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell vehicle, Mini Cooper 1.5 turbo three cylinder, the Ram 3-liter VM diesel, Subaru WRX four-cylinder turbo, VW Golf 1.8 liter [...]
Some time ago, Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat Chrysler, said that the only way to reboot Alfa Romeo would be by amortizing engineering costs with Dodge. That’s gone down the memory hole, now. It had to. The Alfisti will have fitsies if they overtly share with Chrysler. The D-RWD platform is now Giorgio, an Italian name for something developed largely in Auburn [...]