As reliant as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is on trucks and SUVs for its success, it’s missing two key models that competitors are cashing in on. The company does not offer a fullsize body-on-frame SUV along the lines of the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition, nor does it offer a midsize pickup since the discontinuation of the Dakota in 2011. That may change in the not-too-distant future, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press. Mike Manley, brand chief for both the Ram and Jeep brands, said the platform that underpins the Ram 1500 truck would be well suited for a body-on-frame SUV. The next-generation Ram pickup is expected to go on sale in 2018, and a large SUV could follow soon thereafter. However, the SUV may not be sold under the Ram brand but rather as a Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep.
At the time the Dakota was discontinued in 2011, Toyota and Nissan had a virtual duopoly on the midsize truck market, with Ford exiting the niche around the same time, leaving the two Japanese juggernauts to grab marketshare. While the Toyota Tacoma still dominates midsize truck sales, General Motors has found sales success with the new Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, and Ford is reportedly poised to reintroduce the Ranger to the North American market in 2018. Manley would not commit Ram to a new midsize truck on the record, only saying “I think it remains a great opportunity for us.”
Source: Detroit Free Press