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Colorado sales argue against new Dakota

by David Zatz on

Sightings of a larger-than-Strada pickup have sparked speculation that Ram may come out with a new midsize, following the success of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. However, it’s unlikely that the Strada-based larger pickup to be built in Brazil, or even the Mitsubishi Triton for sale in Mexico, will make it to the US as Rams.

The Strada lacks the amenities expected by most American buyers; in addition, simply equipping it to meet U.S. Federal requirements would likely be quite expensive.

Chevrolet Colorado

As for another Ram-based pickup, akin to the Dodge Dakota, the chances seem fairly slim at the moment. Chrysler (and FCA as a whole) is still overloaded with the need to refresh the lineup, develop and produce an entire line of midsize rear wheel drive vehicles, re-create the large cars and Wrangler, add the Chrysler 100, and so on. That’s aside from aluminum and composite body and suspension parts, greater integration and optimization of the nine-speed, and other projects not limited to particular vehicles.

The GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado have not been barn-busters. The Colorado has, so far this year (through March 31), had 19,126 U.S. sales, while Canyon sits at just 7,152. Combined, the pair should reach or exceed 120,000 sales, assuming the summer is kind to them and current trends continue. But Chrysler can rarely enjoy the success of General Motors, Ford, or Toyota, and in trucks, owner loyalty is reported higher than in other segments.  One can, by comparing Silverado to Ram sales, assume that Chrysler would be lucky to hit 100,000, the magical number where, veteran engineers tell us, automakers find breakeven on car grouping.

GMC Canyon

Meanwhile, Chrysler is already stretched as it tries to increase its footprint to compete in just about ever segment, while bolstering its full size lineup to deal with Ford’s surprise move into aluminum bodies and the capacity increase (however dubious Ford’s numbers have tended to be) that entails.

Thus, it seems unlikely that, with a new full size Ram pickup line being developed long-term, the current line being refreshed yet again, new vans to support and most likely refresh relatively soon as reports from buyers come in, and a range of new cars, minivans, crossovers, and Jeeps coming into play, that Fiat Chrysler has the resources to do what could be a disastrous run into midsized pickups.

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