Fiat Chrysler has been developing a new Fiat Strada pickup for the last several years. It was meant to debut in South America right about now. The coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on most all new-vehicle introductions. But, we do have images as a result of a filing to the National Institute of Industrial Property in Brazil. Different exterior trims are shown including black- and body-color bumpers and what looks like a high-end version with LED lights and extra trim. It even sports a full roof rack. Is this a future entry-level Ram pickup?
There are three good reasons why manufacturers are looking at entry-level pickups
There has been a lot of talk from different manufacturers of late about whether an entry-level pickup might be apropos. There are three reasons why so let’s see that first and then we can get into how this specifically applies to the new Strada.
First, trucks are getting really expensive. They’re starting to price themselves out of affordability for certain economic groups. We’re even seeing 84-month loans in an attempt to make purchasing a new pickup more affordable. But 84 months of payments? That seems a bit rough.
Then, the vehicle manufacturers have essentially abandoned making cars. It’s SUVs, crossovers, and pickups. Those are the most popular and most profitable so the companies are all in on them. Unfortunately, when you eliminate whole segments you have fewer products to offer across the spectrum of customer wants and needs. You now have to make more from less. So companies are looking to fill out their product lines with every segment and iteration of pickup, SUV, and crossover.
The coronavirus pandemic is killing the economy and putting millions on unemployment
Finally, the coronavirus pandemic is killing the economy and pushing millions of workers out of jobs. If you need a vehicle but only have so much to spend you’ll probably be looking at used vehicles. That doesn’t do the manufacturers any good. With an entry-level pickup, the manufacturers can capture some of those who would otherwise purchase a used vehicle.
So with all of these factors swirling around along comes the Fiat Strada. It will be available with a number of powertrains including a 1.3-liter with 108 hp and a 1.0-liter turbocharged unit. A manual five-speed or CVT will add transmission options
In Mexico, Fiat Chrysler markets the Strada as the Ram 700. With three clear reasons why an entry-level Ram would help bolster its product line, it makes sense the Strada could be an entry-level Ram pickup. There’s even a single-cab version.
We know Ram is developing a Dakota midsize but now an entry-level pickup makes more sense
We know that Ram is hot on developing a new midsize Dakota pickup. But if there’s a good business case for that then it should be easy to justify a Strada in the US. Especially one with all of the drivetrain and appearance options.
Some think that the Dakota is the only small Ram it is spending development money on. But, the Strada is developed already. That, and amortizing Strada sales in the US decreases the per-truck costs which should make all of this attractive to Fiat Chrysler.
If the Strada can pass US safety regulations there just doesn’t seem like there’s a reason in the world not to stab some US-spec Stradas into dealerships. Maybe place some around the smile of the US; Washington, Cali, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of the south. It seems like a terrific grand slam Ram plan to us.