Many automotive news outlets are reporting that Ram has canceled the development of a 2022 midsize Dakota. It was first reported by, of all sites, GM Authority. It cites “sources within Stellantis” and we don’t doubt that their sources said what it said they said. But while whatever Ram was working might have been killed, we at MotorBiscuit have a different take on the rumor.
Did Stellantis decide that Jeep was a reason to kill the Ram Dakota?
GM Authority lays some of the blame for “canceling” the Dakota on the fact it is based on the Jeep Gladiator platform. Since the Gladiator had not been the grand slam that Jeep thought it would be, Stellantis decided that this was a reason to kill off the Dakota. Others are saying that not having a V8 doomed the future of the Ram Dakota.
We are sure that Stellantis killed the Dakota it was working on, but the speculation is all wrong. There is no reason that Ram can’t capture its share of the midsize pickup market. Especially, since it now has a pickup ready to go that Ram can have for almost nothing in development cost. You say that’s crazy?
Peugeot has been making trucks for a long time
Nope. That’s not crazy, it is the Landtrek. The Peugeot Landtrek, which was unveiled just last week. Peugeot has been making trucks for a long time and has a great reputation for building rugged stuff.
But the option of taking a new pickup and sticking big chrome Ram heads on it was not an option for Ram before last month. Now it has an entire midsize pickup ready to go that can slot into the popular midsize pickup slot and grab its fair share of the market. It’s a market that is only getting bigger. Why would Ram not take advantage of having a truck for every need?
In fact, the pickup segment is growing at the lower end beyond midsize. The compact truck is making a comeback, too. Ford is developing its own unibody small truck to compete with the soon-to-be-unveiled Hyundai Santa Cruz. And Ram has a built-in product for this segment as well, but not from Peugeot. This one comes in through Fiat.
If Ram needs a pickup in this segment the Ram 700 is ready
It is sold in Mexico as the Ram 700, so it doesn’t even need to have ram heads added to make it a Ram pickup. If Ram needs a pickup in this segment the Ram 700 is ready to go. But if anything is impeding either truck’s debut, it is the US “chicken tax.”
Put in place in the 1960s it says that pickups need to be built in the US or a 25% tax is added to them. That makes importing pickups into this country non-competitive. So Stellantis has to find a site to build anything that is a pickup stateside. It can’t just start importing Ram 700s and Peugeot Landtreks and hit the road.
So, while whatever Fiat Chrysler was developing in the way of a midsize Ram Dakota revival might have been scrapped, we’d bet that the Landtrek will fill that slot nicely. Chevy sells on average 150,000 Colorados a year, with Ford selling over 100,000 Rangers in 2020. You don’t think that Ram is going to turn its back on those numbers when it has the Landtrek in its hip pocket, do you?