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Diaz: Dakota replacement still possible

by David Zatz on

According to Ram chief Fred Diaz, speaking with Allpar at the New York Auto Show this week, Ram is still exploring the possibility of selling a mid-sized pickup in the future. Allpar was first told about exploration of a lighter-duty replacement for the Dakota around 2007, when the pickup was boosted in capability, size, and price to the point where it competed almost directly against Ram 1500.

There is a new Ram on the Chrysler four-year-plan, slotted for calendar-year 2016, and a new Fiat truck to be imported from the United States on the Fiat five-year plan, also slotted for 2016.

Mr. Diaz said:

We are heavily, heavily, heavily exploring the possibility of bringing a mid-sized truck to the market. It’s a very small market here in the United States, so you have to decide whether or not you’re going to play in that small market and be able to dominate that small market enough to where you can build a business case that makes it worth going there, or you’ve got to decide that you’re going to bring a vehicle that’s so new, so unconventional, so styled right, good mileage, and just the right amount of capability, that you’re actually going to grow that market.

You’ve seen Ford get out of that market; Chevy’s gotten out of that market; we’ve gotten out of that market. So it’s basically Toyota and Nissan that have that market all to themselves right now. For them, it’s probably a lucrative business case because it’s just two players.

So we’re looking at many, many different things. We have a plethora of things that we can look at because of our partnership with Fiat, and we’re even looking at okay, if we want to build a truck like this, there’s also a need for a truck that’s similar in size but is metric-ton capable from a payload standpoint.

 

When you talk about the big dogs, you look at the continent of Asia, you talk about Europe, you talk about South America, a metric-ton truck that’s a mid-sized truck size is what they’re looking for. You’ve got to have a small vehicle, and that small truck has got to be able to just be a monster.

… It’s perhaps one of the most aggressive product planning things that we’re researching and looking at right now from a truck standpoint, but still no decisions have been made as to whether or not we’re even going to bring a mid-sized truck back to the US market or the worldwide market. That’s being a straight up honest with you as I can possibly be. That’s where we’re at. And we talk about it almost every week.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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