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Two of the very popular small truck types from the past were the El Camino and Ranchero. It occurs to me that that size and body style might warrant serious consideration for the next Dakota type. Whatacha think? Got t be rear drive for stability, though.
 

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Yeah, the Rampage was a mild success, the PT Cruiser truck was pretty cool looking, but RWD would have really been the bomb in my opinion. They should have made a few other renditions of the PT Cruiser, but it wasn't supposed to be as popular as it was as it was.
 

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How about a "shorter-wheelbase", 4-door, 4 (to5?)-seater with a shorter bed of effectively 5 to 6 feet counted with the (stout) tailgate open, on the CUSW platform in 2 and 4WD? A "Lifestyle" pickup for Millenials et al? I guess you'd have to be more conservative on loads and towing with default front WD, but maybe that'd help with MPGs, and maybe such a current and future demand segment calls for lower cargo and towing weights, anyway (but still would like to carry some things in a bed sometimes)?
 

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Ya know what? Mopars have always been pretty good at building something new and cool and well sellers, but it seems every time they try to compete with something in a segment the don't quite get it right. Quit the garbage of trying to "fit in the box" with cute CUSW, lifestyle, SUV, A/B/C/D segment and just make something that is appealing, versatile, a few engine/transmission and FWD/RWD/AWD/2&4WD and make it affordable.

What was the PT Cruiser? It made a new segment. LHS/Concorde, broke the mold and competed and beat the competition, Minivan? What was that? Made a new segment and remained top of the list.

Now what about the Dart, Compass/Patriot, Avenger, 200, just to name a few. Each of them were stuck in a specific category fit and purpose and you know what? Wouldn't call them barn burners. Granted they all are good cars but try to stick them in a segment and go head to head with the competition, no, no excitement there.

Forget trying to put a vehicle in a box that is crowded, make something that fits more needs and less "category", those are already full and can't compete trying to get into something they haven't been in for a while (whether it is due to an accident or mismanagement and pulling out of a category, never to return). Chrysler seems to do better when they seem to be a square peg trying to be stuck in a round hole instead of a round peg being stuck in a round hole every time.
 

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Jeepophile said:
How about a "shorter-wheelbase", 4-door, 4 (to5?)-seater with a shorter bed of effectively 5 to 6 feet counted with the (stout) tailgate open, on the CUSW platform in 2 and 4WD? A "Lifestyle" pickup for Millenials et al? I guess you'd have to be more conservative on loads and towing with default front WD, but maybe that'd help with MPGs, and maybe such a current and future demand segment calls for lower cargo and towing weights, anyway (but still would like to carry some things in a bed sometimes)?
On one hand, the now-failed Subaru Legacy/Baja is something of a prototype for this -




The Journey might also work (beyond the CUSW you mention) ... but that's a step-up and could pose other challenges ( Lift-over height, perhaps).

The previous talk about the Caravan forming the basis for the Lifestyle truck included evolving the Minivan into less people-mover, but more of a purpose-built, ruggedized utility vehicle.

The Subaru Baja would be the closest actual product to the sizes you note; although that wouldn't be a direct 1:1 relationship - it merely depicts the idea in picture better than I could convey in mere words. What you're saying, of course, would have to be Chrysler-ized.

All the foregoing are FWD.
 

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tazdevil said:
Two of the very popular small truck types from the past were the El Camino and Ranchero. It occurs to me that that size and body style might warrant serious consideration for the next Dakota type. Whatacha think? Got t be rear drive for stability, though.
I'm on the fence, actually.

I'm not knocking the idea by any means, but on one hand I seem to remember the possibility of a light-light duty Fiat Pick-up being considered. That's one possibility.

My preference, however, is to have a smaller-than-Ram Jeep pick-up ... a re-hash of the J-Truck. It would have to be smaller than the Ram 1500 in length and width by established J-Truck standards, but larger than a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. For me, it would have to carry visual cues stolen from what I consider to be the best of the Jeep Truck models from the beginnings of the Jeep Truck onward (1962-ish to 1988?). It would have to be better by being Retro-Modern.

So, I'd like a Dakota, but would much prefer the return of the J-Truck. { I'm off my Bully Pulpit now }
 

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I don't think that 5-6' with the tailgate down is enough, it fails the dirtbike test. If it can hold four or five adults then it needs to be able to carry the gear of at least three in my opinion, and 6' isn't even enough for a good stout dirtbike, let alone three of them.

Remember, when Nissan and Toyota introduced their crew cab pickups to the US in the late nineties, originally they were the same total length and same wheelbase as a regular-cab "long" 8'+ bed and as a club-cab "short" 6'+ bed, which meant that the bed was only about 5' long, if that long. They'd already discontinued the traditional 8' bed at that point, but these trucks were built on the same frames as the others. At the same time both Toyota and Nissan made a regular cab with a 6'+ bed with a shorter wheelbase. Eventually Nissan realized they were losing sales, and they dropped the regular-cab-short-6'-bed entirely around '03, to introduce a new, even-longer wheelbase, which gave them a crew-cab with 6'+ bed, and I *think* they designed the frame so that the same 6'+ bed from the club cab truck fits the crew cab truck.

I live in a part of the country with a disproportionate number of pickup trucks, and I see far fewer trucks with short, stubby 5' beds than I do trucks with 8' beds, and the 6' bed is by far the most common, regardless of the the truck having a regular cab, a club cab, or a crew cab. I just don't think that the numbers are there for a cartruck with a bed less than 6' long, especially if it's intended as a lifestyle truck. Heck, if the bed is less than 6' long then I could carry the same load by taking the hatch off of my wife's Integra.

The Australians seem to have this market figured out, perhaps we should look at the Ute designs.
 

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With the competitive pressures out there now both in terms of cost and the demand side, you've pretty much got to work with existing and in-the-pipeline platforms in the near-term. Like Sergio said, they can afford one mistake---is that already happening with the Dart sales (good features that weigh too much for the current powertrain for current buyers?)? On the other hand, in keeping with designer Raymond Lowey's MAYA principal ("Most Advanced Yet Acceptable"), sometimes an idea like the small 4-door default-front-wheel-drive piclup that didn't work before can work later....
 

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Though it looks like my riding days are over, two of my dirtbikes (250cc class) are just under 6 feet from the front of the front tire to the back end of the rear tire base, the relevant length for carying them in a truck bed; my other dirtbike is even shorter. I haven't done a market study on all dirtbikes, but 6.5 feet could handle most all of them. I wouldn't expect to carry more than two bikes at a time in such a small truck; many riders carry only one bike---mounting it diagonally in the bed---which reduces the needed bed length significantly. I don't think such a truck would be intended to carry e.g., a Harley.

BTW, Aussies inspired us with their utes, giving rise to the Ranchero in the 1950s.
 

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Jeepophile said:
Though it looks like my riding days are over, two of my dirtbikes (250cc class) are just under 6 feet from the front of the front tire to the back end of the rear tire base, the relevant length for carying them in a truck bed; my other dirtbike is even shorter. I haven't done a market study on all dirtbikes, but 6.5 feet could handle most all of them. I wouldn't expect to carry more than two bikes at a time in such a small truck; many riders carry only one bike---mounting it diagonally in the bed---which reduces the needed bed length significantly. I don't think such a truck would be intended to carry e.g., a Harley.

BTW, Aussies inspired us with their utes, giving rise to the Ranchero in the 1950s.
Right; and aren't there bed extenders? I don't know what to call them, tubing arrangements which hinge just inside the back gate (tailgate? bed door?)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree, the bed must be able to carry a dirt bike. The popularity of the El C and Ranchero was largely due to that ability. I don't see the need for four doors, however. Make it two doors, and the guys who would ride in the rear seat will have to buy one of their own!! Marketing!
 

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I was one of the 6 people that actually LIKED the Subaru Baja.

Eliminate the 2nd row & doors and now the concept is even more of a niche and less likely to move.

(FWIW, PT Cruiser didn't create a new segment - tall wagons like the Mitsubishi Expo/Eagle Summit/Plymouth Colt Vista and the Nissan Axxess were already in play. PT Cruiser simply wrapped it in a cool-looking design that, according to some today, now makes it "grandpa-like" and "embarrassing to be seen in." :rolleyes:)
 

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Being the owner of a Ram D50 I think they could do a modern update of the original mini P/U, I also wonder if Dakota returned to its roots as a smaller truck would it sell?
 

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I still say rework the Fiat Strada and bring it here.
 

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White Hot Charger said:
Being the owner of a Ram D50 I think they could do a modern update of the original mini P/U, I also wonder if Dakota returned to its roots as a smaller truck would it sell?
I doubt it. None of the small pickups sell well. If you go back to 2001, the Ford Ranger alone outsold all the small trucks (Toyota. Nissan, Ford, Chevy/GMC) added together in 2012. The market has changed. It's a market I wish the Dakota was still active in but I guess I'm one of a shrinking number.
 

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White Hot Charger said:
Being the owner of a Ram D50 I think they could do a modern update of the original mini P/U, I also wonder if Dakota returned to its roots as a smaller truck would it sell?
Refresh the 2002-2004 Dakota. Put the 3.6L V6 + 8-speed and the 8.4" radios and it's perfect IMO
 

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White Hot Charger said:
Being the owner of a Ram D50 I think they could do a modern update of the original mini P/U, I also wonder if Dakota returned to its roots as a smaller truck would it sell?
I once owned a long-bed Dodge D50. Bare-bones but had A/C ... 'twas nice.

A massaged Strada might work. But so would a Journey-, or Caravan-sourced Ridgeline wannabe. I'm wondering if the Strada would be better since on the surface it would seem to have (more) Real Truck underpinnings to help sell the idea that the finished product is actually a truck.
 

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Stratuscaster said:
(FWIW, PT Cruiser didn't create a new segment - tall wagons like the Mitsubishi Expo/Eagle Summit/Plymouth Colt Vista and the Nissan Axxess were already in play. PT Cruiser simply wrapped it in a cool-looking design that, according to some today, now makes it "grandpa-like" and "embarrassing to be seen in." :rolleyes:)
Exactly. Not sure about the "grandpa-like" looks, my 17 year old daughter loves driving her PT Cruiser and her friends love it to boot.
 
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